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Published by 

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220-226 S. First St., Louisville, Ky. 


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To Mrs. Ragsdale, whose courage and sacrifice through a year 
of illness has allowed me to continue work at the jail when my pres- 
ence was due in the home, and to our two little boys, in the hope that 
they will grow to be men strong in body, mind and character, this 
volume is lovingly dedicated by the Author. 



The Home of the Foster School 

Jefferson County Jail, Center and Green Streets, Louisville, Ky. 
Erected in 1905. 



The Author's Statement 

The value of a man's ideas is based upon his honesty, training, 
experience and the results of his work. As to honesty, those who 
know me can give testimony. As to training, the records of the Uni- 
versity of Chicago show that I was granted the degree of Bachelor 
of Philosophy in 1905. The records of the University of Louisville 
show that I was granted the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1911. I 
have taught seventeen years, have spent some time in newspaper work, 
have lectured to civic, social, fraternal and religious organizations for 
several years. Am a member of the Jefferson County Bar and have 
had some experience in politics. I have lived in the North, West and 
South and traveled all over the East of our country. I am a Utili- 
tarian in philosophy and I am liberal in religious views. In all places 
where I have worked I have tried to be useful and practical. 

As a teacher of history and civics T am convinced that I ought to 
contribute to the civic, social and political welfare of the community. 
For the civic teacher the private and public institutions of the com- 
munity furnish a laboratory for activity and study. 

The Jefferson County Jail, which has been the place where I have 
spent some time each day for nearly two years and where I have lived 
for the past five weeks while writing these chapters, has been an ideal 
place to work. T have had the privilege of the institution from engine 
room to the roof. T have eaten, slept and stayed in jail for five weeks. 
It has been a busy and profitable experience. One does not know 
crime until he lives by it. I have come to know some good men in 
this jail and T know some bad ones. I have seen every phase and con- 
dition of the criminal world. 

I have come to have a fellow feeling for the policeman, the Jailer 
and guards, as well as the man or woman who is "down and out." 
People too frequently have an unsympathetic attitude toward the 
public institution and of the public servant. The policeman has a hard 
job at best. And he is not half so bad as people make him out. Most 
of his criticism comes from the over-zealous reformer or the political 
agitator. T am sure a policeman wants to have a good record. If 
there was always a good word for him he would make a better official. 
And I am sure if the public in general would manifest an interest in 
higher officials we would have a better officialdom. 

Public office in America must continue to be elective and will there- 
fore be subject to political maneuvering. But men in politics can be as 
efficient in office as anyone else. Politics can be left at the door. This 
Mr. Foster has done, and has made a record which commends itself 
to the most critical observer. His ambition was to make the "best 
Jailer Jefferson County ever had," and he has attained that end. 
People say, "Remove institutions from politics." I am of the opinion 
that we should educate men for politics, and institutions will be taken 
care of, in or out of politics. If a man has a vision and an ideal and 
makes himself efficient, it matters little about anything else; he will 
make good. 

The Foster School 

I think that this institution commends itself to the world, not only 
in the school idea, but in its general upkeep and management, and in 
presenting this little volume we have thought to make our contribu- 
tion to sociological thought. When I was a student at the University 
of Chicago I was compelled on account of the death of my father to 
drop for a time my work in sociology under Dr. Charles Richmond 
Henderson. Dr. Henderson, however, said that I would be given my 
credit anyway, and suggested that some time I should contribute 
something to the field of sociological thought, and I said I would. 
This redeems that promise to Dr. Henderson, although he has 
passed on. 

I wish to tender my thanks to the inmate teachers who have so 
earnestly tried to carry out our suggestions. I know their position has 
been difficult, but they have shown strength in overcoming difficulty 
which will be of great value when they again resume their normal 
relations with the world. I wish to express my appreciation of Mr. 
Fred Montfort for the many valuable and sensible ideas which I have 
learned from him. I want also to say that the Matrons, Miss Minnie 
O'Daniel and Mrs. Gazzola, have certainly manifested the most kindly 
interest and have spared no pains to make the Foster School a great 
benefit to the women of this place. To Capt. P. J. Donahue, the Chief 
Deputy, and his subordinates I want to extend my thanks and to say 
that I have always been treated with the highest consideration and 
respect. I feel that it is remarkable that Capt. Donahue, after having 
been a business man all his life, takes the interest in the school that 
he does. 

To Mr. Thomas J. McCollum, Chief Clerk of the Jefferson County 
Jail, I am under obligations for many suggestions and corrections, and 
for Chapter 3 of this volume he is responsible. His carefulness in 
all his work and his loyalty to his superior has impressed me with 
a new idea about the men we' have in our offices. To "Bob" and 
"Billie" I want also to say "thank you, sirs." 

For the art work I am indebted to Wincie King. 

To Mr. Foster I owe the opportunity to learn and work which 
has been here presented. I have found in him a man of high ideals, 
of acute discretion and firm resolve as well as a generous heart. 

While my friendships have been mostly with the educational pro- 
fession, I have here "in jail" formed attachments which I hope will 
never be severed. So, hoping that "The Foster School" will prove a 
"life line" to our erring brothers whom we all have tried to help in 
these years, I anl, 


July 20, 1916. 

Jefferson County Jail, 

Louisville, Ky. 


Mr. Ragsdale has asked me to write a few introductory words for 
his interesting volume. Although it can be said of the pages which 
follow, more than of most books, that they speak for themselves, I am 
glad to comply, for I am so impressed with their wisdom and sobriety 
that it is a pleasure to associate myself, even at long range, with this 
honest and intelligent record of experience. It is known to all who have 
any contact with contemporary prison reforms that these center about 
the educational possibilities of penal institutions. Comparatively few 
of those who are directly concerned with education have had, however, 
the time or opportunity (or, it must be confessed, the inclination) 
to interest themselves in the work of our corrective and reformatory 
-institutions. Mr. Ragsdale's work should be greeted as an honorable 
and important exception. Certain facts stand out in the sincere, 
straightforward record he has set down. The account of the life of 
the jailer, Mr. Foster, is itself a lesson in sound American life. The 
prior history of the jail is typical in general of a great and common 
oversight in our social ethics. The record of the educational work 
undertaken in the school is an exhibit of what intelligence, combined 
with sympathy free from any morbid sentimentalism, can do to remedy 
this defect. Our best educational lessons sometimes spring from the 
seemingly least promising sources. Mr. Ragsdale's picture of the 
School and its methods is instructive for all concerned with improving 
our methods of caring for and reforming the derelicts of society. But 
it is equally instructive for those concerned with normal education. 
Where conditions are abnormal, need is greatest. There is little 
choice between allowing things to drift and inventing and applying 
measures that go to the root of the question. Educational measures 
which grow out of extreme needs and which are successful in meeting 
them have an unusual claim upon the attention of those engaged in 
education under more normal conditions. Mr. Ragsdale's book cuts 
both ways. It is, I repeat, a pleasure to associate myself in any way 
with a book which has such a message both for teachers and for those 
engaged in social reform. 

Columbia University, New York City. 

The Foster School 

Statement from the Jailer, Mr. Chas. C. Foster 

Compulsory education for American-born children was found 
necessary. There is a disposition in this country to provide for the 
care and enlightenment of those children who are brought here from 
foreign shores. 

It is said that at least five million adult Americans are unable to 
read or write and that millions of Americans can only read simple 
words and that millions of persons in this Republic rarely read ; in 
truth, they seldom actually think. The illiteracy of millions of 
unschooled men and women practically is ignored. Most illiterates 
are ignorant. 

Illiteracy retards all that is American — progress, efficiency, stand- 
ards, social and political, intelligence of citizenship, home-making and 
the general public welfare. 

Prof. Ragsdale, in this interesting and well-written volume, has 
told of the establishment of the school in the Jefferson County Jail. 
No one is better qualified than he to relate the simple story of the 
Jailer's effort to humanize the institution, to uplift those who are 
swept into it on the tide of misfortune, to teach the inmates that 
ignorance is a blight and that to continue to exist in this condition 
is a crime against humanity, a barrier against democracy. 

What the Jefferson County Jail has accomplished is conveyed in 
the statement that up to this time more than 250 persons have been 
taught to read and write. Flashing the light of education before the 
faces of offenders of varied types has led these individuals from a 
cave-like state; it has wrought reformation, in many instances lasting; 
it has improved the mentality of every pupil who has attended the 
school ; it has at all times elevated the standard of discipline. In 
every conceivable manner it has served to develop that dormant better 
self in men and women, boys and girls. 

It has done that which sentimentality always fails to do. It does 
more than can be hoped for through the honor test. It turns all 
from hopelessness; it is the beacon light of encouragement and the 
surest cure I know of for redemption. It is salvation for many a 
soul winding downward. 

The opportunity must not be permitted to pass without an acknowl- 
edgment from me concerning Prof. Ragsdale's sensible, tireless and 
practical efforts in the jail school. He has aided me in an undertaking 
assuredly successful and one that is certain to grow in adoption and 
usefulness throughout America. 

CHAS. C. FOSTER, Jailer. 
Louisville, 1917. 


There is no problem upon which society has spent more energy than 
the problem of the prisoner. In this little volume we are not attempt- 
ing to deal with the prisoner confined in the penitentiary or reformatory 
for a long period. Our problem is that of the short-term jail prisoner. 
Much has been said and written, a great deal of study has been made, 
wise things have been done in the solution of the long-term prison 
problem. But comparatively little study has been made, little has been 
written, and what has been done in regard to short-term jail prisoners 
has been without scientific study or organization. 

In some respects only is the jail problem like that of the peniten- 
tiary. The jail gets the culprit for the first time, the penitentiary gen- 
erally after he has had jail and workhouse sentences. The jail gets 
the boy before he has become well acquainted with criminal life; the 
penitentiary gets him after he has become calloused and hardened to 
criminal life. If there is, therefore, any hope of "pulling a fellow back 
into line" with right living the opportunity is in the jail. But society 
has not yet seen this opportunity. 

The jail problem is an old one. The first person in modern times 
to make a real study of prisoners and jails was John Howard, who 
was born in England in 1726. He gave the first impetus to reform. 
The Nineteenth Century was marked by five great epochs of progress. 
The first was a work of the philanthropists, which led next to a period 
of reform in legislation. This legislation led to a reconstruction of 
jails and prisons. The next epoch put stress upon different kinds of 
servitude, and the last was a period when the national conscience was 
awakened to action. 

This last period has introduced the present period, which is to be 
one of scientific study of the prisoner as an individual in society, and 
of societv's relations, rights and duty toward itself and the prisoner. 

But through all this progress the problem has been studied from 
the penitentiary standpoint. We have here attempted to study the 
jail from every standpoint, not altogether from that of the writer 
on criminology. 

We are living in the jail, eating, sleeping, talking and working with 
a most practical and common-sense Jailer, his assistants, his guards 
and his prisoners. While reading may have had some influence on 
our viewpoint, the actual contact with the problem and the observa- 
tions made in this jail form the foundation of this humble contribu- 
tion to sociological thought. We here attempt to show how The 
Foster School has attempted to solve and is solving the question, 
"What to Do With the Short-Term Jail Prisoner/' 




The general practice in the United States, and in Kentucky 
especially, is to make the county the unit for the support and control 
of the jail, and accordingly the Fiscal Court is given authority by 
Section 1872 of the Statutes to issue bonds for the construction of 
jails. At one time the city was a party to the support and control of 
the jail. 

The records of the first jails of Jefferson County seem to have 
disappeared, but we have found enough evidence to lead us to the 
conclusion that Jefferson County has had about the same evolutionary 
progress in this problem that any other community of a like history 
has had. Jefferson County has not been behind, neither has it been 
ahead until recently, of other counties where the population ranges 
from 300,000 people upwards. 

The first jail in Jefferson County was a part of the stockade built 
by George Rogers Clark in 1778 on the north side of Main Street, 
between Sixth and Seventh Streets, of this city. It is very probable 
that this block house was first used to detain prisoners, but later a log 
jail was built with triple walls so constructed that the outside and 
inside walls would appear to be those of two regular log cabins, one 
built within the other, and with a wall between these two made of 
logs that stood perpendicularly. If a prisoner should attempt to saw 
his way out he would have to saw his way through three walls, the 
middle log would drop when he took out a block so that the opening 
would close and prevent escape. This jail had only one room, and all 
prisoners were put therein and chained to the wall so that they could 
not reach one another. 

(There is some evidence that this jail was located on the west side 
of Sixth, between Jefferson and Congress Alley.) 

About 1800 a log jail of two rooms, one above the other, was 
built at the present site of the St. Nicholas Hotel, Court Place and 
Sixth Street. The women occupied the upper room of this jail, while 
men were quartered below. This jail did service for about twenty 

In 1819 a new jail was constructed. McMurtrie's History of 
Louisville gives an interesting statement in regard to this, and is here 
quoted : 


"A most miserable edifice, in a most filthy and ruinous condition, 
first cousin to the 'black hole of Calcutta.' A new and spacious one 
is, however, contracted for, which will be commenced in a few weeks, 
to be built (as is the old one) of stone, with arched fireproof apart- 
ments and cells secure, but so contrived as to afford shelter to the 
unfortunate of the law, who may there 'address himself to sleep' 
without any fear of losing his ears through the voracity of the rats 
and other vermin that swarm in the present one. It would be well to 
surround the new building when finished with a high stone wall and 


No. 1 jail, built in 1846, on site of Annex to City Hall. 

No. 2. The jail of 1819, situated on site of St. Nicholas Hotel, Sixth and Court 

No. 3. Fort Nelson, built in 1782, at Seventh and Main .streets. Prisoners were 
held in one of these blockhouses. 

No. 1 is a picture of a jail in actual use near Louisville. It is almost an exact 
type of the jail built about 1800. 

No. 5. Addition to No. 1. fronting Jefferson street. Built about 1862. 

For present jail see Frontispiece. 

The Jefferson County Jails 13 

to inclose within the limits that horrid-looking engine now standing 
opposite the Courthouse. I allude to the pillory and whipping post. 
Such things may be necessary (and even that is very doubtful) for 
the punishment of the guilty, but I am sure it never came within the 
intention of the law to inflict through it pain upon the innocent, its 
very appearance, combined with the knowledge of its uses, sufficing 
to blanch the cheek of every man who is not through custom or a 
heart callous to the sufferings of humanity totally regardless of such 

The third jail, designated in the cut on page 12 as Jail No. 2, 
was a two-story stone structure with shingle roof and doors 
and small windows barred with inch square wrought iron 
bars. It was about 50x30 feet and opened on Sixth Street. There 
were five rooms upstairs, and for a time the Jailer with his family 
occupied these rooms, but by 1844 the upstairs had been changed and 
was being used for prisoners. There were four rooms on the first 
floor, one being used for an office by the Jailer, one room for white 
male prisoners, one for white women and one for negroes. This jail 
was used until late in 1846, when the fourth jail was completed. 

Jail No. 4, designated in the cut on page 12 as No. 1, 
was located on the north end of the lot where the annex 
to the City Hall is now situated. It was surrounded by a stone wall 
about 16 feet in height and inclosed a space about 100x150. On each 
i . corner of this wall was a sentry box. In front of this wall was a yard 

in which grew some large shade trees. From the street the jail looked 
like a feudal castle and is so described by those who can remember 
its appearances. 

In the jail proper there were three tiers of cells. These were 
located around a "U" shaped court, known in jail parlance as the 
"bull pen." The cells were "holes in the wall" inclosed by iron bars 
or doors. There was no ventilation. At night each prisoner had a 
wooden bucket for excretions, which he was required to keep under 
his cot until morning, when he was required to empty it into a pan in 
a vault. The prisoners' meals were handed him through the barred 
door. On special days the freedom of the "bull pen" was given the 
prisoners, if there was no mark against them on account of mis- 

In 1862 an addition, designated in the cut on page 12 as 
Jail No. 5, which covered what was the jail yard at that time 
and where is now located the Annex to the City Hall, was made. 
This was two stories in height. On the first floor was a vestibule, on 
the left of which was a public office, where all prisoners w r ere "regis- 
tered," and on the right were the Jailer's private offices. From the 
vestibule a "T" shaped hallway led to the new cells, to the old jail, to 
the kitchen, to the storeroom and to the closet. On the second floor 
of the addition there were two tiers of cells on the west side, where 
women were kept, and on the east side was a large room set apart 
for "moonshiners." The front rooms of the second floor were first 
used for storerooms, but in 1878 these rooms were turned into cells, 

14 The Foster School 

which were used until the jail was abandoned in 1905. In one of these 
cells Caldb Powers was confined while awaiting trial for the murder 
of William Goebel. 

It was in this jail that Dr. Samuel Garvin began his long term of 
thirty-three years, two months and two days as jail physician. Dr. 
Garvin's experience was a valuable one to society. Out of 5,000 
delirium tremen cases treated in this period he lost only twelve. He 
says that a man does not commit crime when under the influence of 
morphine, but when he wants it he will do anything in the world to 
get it. Dr. Garvin's observations and experience ought not to be 
allowed to perish with him. 

Many interesting stories are told about the "old jail." Mr. James 
Camp tells us that while his father was Jailer in the 70's that the yard 
about the cellhouse was used as a place to fatten turkeys, lambs and 
pigs from what was left from the kitchen, and that, on Thanksgiving, 
the prisoners were always given a "turkey dinner." There seems to 
have been a good cook at the jail in those days also, because old men 
who were on the police force in those days delight to tell about "good, 
juicy steaks" which they would take to the jail and have broiled by 
the cook and which they "sure enjoyed" when they had completed 
their beats on cold winter nights. 

In 1905, the fourth jail having been outgrown and "beyond repair," 
the Fiscal Court, during the term of James P. Gregory as County 
Judge, caused the erection of the fifth and present jail of Jefferson 
County at the southwest corner of Center and Green Streets. It 
covers a 150x225-foot lot and is three stories high. The outside walls 
are constructed of brick and Bedford limestone and range from 18 
to 30 inches in thickness. The windows are high and wide and secured 
by permanent tool-proof steel bars.] As one enters the jail, on the left 
will be seen the private office of the Jailer, which appears to be the 
study of a quiet gentleman of culture. On the right is the public 
office, where all "guests" are registered before they pass into the 
Jailer's care. Coming then through the first barred door into the 
main hallway one is charmed to see a beautiful fountain, planned by 
the Jailer and built by the inmates. (See cut on page 70.) On the left 
of this hall will be found the administration office of the Jailer and 
Chief Deputy. On the right is the jail physician's office, the surgical 
room and the drug store. On the left of this hallway will be found 
the inside office of the Jailer and Assistant Jailer. Here may be found 
many relics of former days — nooses, knives, saws, needles, guns taken 
from prisoners, as well as the "death cap" used in hanging in former 

Through another barred door and we are in the cellhouse, which 
is constructed entirely of tool-proof steel. The cellhouse is built on 
the ground without basement or sub-structure of any kind. The walls 
are so constructed that at least one-third of the surface is window 
space, so that there is the best of ventilation at all times. There are five 
floors and four tiers of cells on each floor. In all there are 300 sleep- 
ing cells and twenty bath cells. On each tier there is a shower bath, 

The Jefferson County Jails 15 

a walk about one hundred feet in length, of which the prisoner has the 
freedom when not asleep. The cells are 5 feet 10 inches wide, 8 feet 
long and 7 feet high. The cell is equipped with a bed attached to the 
wall, with a table, also attached to the wall, with a washbowl and 
toilet and an electric light. 

From the locking box at the head of each tier (outside) all the 
cells may be locked by one operation, and by one operation they may 
be unlocked. Any cell on the tier may be locked and unlocked from 
the locking box. The tier gate may also be locked and unlocked from 
the same place. 

There are also two hospital wards in connection with the cell- 
house.- The most interesting place, but the least used in the cellhouse, 
is the "hole," which is under a portion of the house. This is the place 
where the "unruly" fellow is allowed to stay to "think things over." 

On the first floor at the east end of the building are the boys' 
wards, which are so constructed as to have as little of the appear- 
ances of jail as possible. On the second floor will be found the wards 
for women, which have more the appearance of hospital wards than 
jail wards. The schoolrooms for women, the chapel and matron 
rooms are also located on this floor. On the third floor the kitchen, 
the guards' dining room, the guards' dressing room and the colored 
boys' ward are located. In the basement the laundry, where all of the 
jail "linen" is taken care of, is found. The carpenter shop and the 
sanitary department are also in the basement. The capacity of the 
jail is easily 450, and in emergency many more could be taken care of. 

The visitor going through this institution is first impressed by the ' 
extreme cleanliness of the place. The proverbial "jail smell" is not 
even noticed. 

Over every entrance and in many conspicuous places will be found 
many neatly painted quotations, axioms and inscriptions which express 
Mr. Foster's philosophy and which is meant to remind the "guests" 
of the error of their ways and point them to think a little higher. 
Some of these are : "Drunkenness turns a man out of himself and 
leaves a beast in his room," "Forget others' faults by remembering 
your own," "What greater crime than loss of time," "A fine woman 
can do without fine clothes," "Smile and look on the bright side," "A 
child is better unborn than untaught," "A good face needs no paint," 
"How I pity the man who never took the education that was right- 
fully his — Lincoln," "Hope is the dream of one that is awake," "Do 
as little as you can to repent of," "The best throw of the dice is to 
throw them away." 

The heating and ventilating plant is in the yard at the rear of the 
jail. The law makes the Jailer the custodian of the Courthouse and 
the Armory, and the heat, light and hot water for those buildings are 
furnished by the jail plant. The tunnel through which prisoners are 
taken to the Criminal Court is the conduit for the light, heat and water 
used in the Courthouse. 

We have not attempted to give a technical description of the jail, 
thinking that for the laity that of a layman would be better. 

16 The Foster School 



Jefferson County has had many efficient jailers, has been 
our fortune to know only the present Jailer, Mr. Charles C. Foster. 
I wish to mention several incidents in his life because I find here again 
the illustration of how a boy in our land can by energy and common 
sense make a place for himself among Who's Who of the land. These 
incidents also show what is Mr. Foster's philosophy of life. The 
foundation for one's work is laid very early in the training and experi- 
ence of a boy's life. 

Born in Lexington, Ind., on October 29, 1871, and brought to 
Louisville at a very early age and then taken back to the place of his 
birth, where his father owned shares in a woolen mill, Mr. Foster 
began his career in life. In the woolen mill at Lexington he began 
the work of feeding a picker, making 25 cents per day. At about 
twelve years of age the support of his mother and sister fell upon him 
because of the death of his father. He had reached the sixth grade 
in school, and here his education so far as school is concerned was 

He had sold newspapers, and about this time he borrowed an 8x 10- 
foot power printing press and started a country newspaper. He did 
all the work except to write the editorials, which were furnished by 
his partner, Mark Storen, then a schoolteacher and now United States 
Marshal for Indiana. Besides running the eight-column paper he did 
job printing, such as professional cards, sale bills, etc. The paper had 
a circulation of about 500 and was sold to Scottsburg parties and con- 
tinues today as a county paper under the management of Mr. S. B. 

The young man next found himself at sixteen years of age in Jef- 
fersonville, Ind., engaged on a newspaper which had a life of only 
two weeks. But fortune came his way and his work as a newspaper 
man went on. A reporter on the Commercial, a Louisville paper, 
wanted a day off, and asked young Foster to do his work. It so hap- 
pened that "Jake" Robinson, who lived in the hills back of Jefferson- 
ville, had had for a long time a misunderstanding with a neighbor 
named Sam Hay. The feud ended on this day by Robinson taking a 
double-barreled shotgun and killing Hay. The substitute reporter 
wrote the account of the murder, and on the strength of the story 
Frank W. Gregory, Managing Editor of the Commercial, gave him a 
position as reporter in Louisville. For several years he worked as 
reporter when a five-months' siege of typhoid fever made it necessary 
for him to seek lighter employment. This he secured as night clerk 
in the Hotel Geneva in Cincinnati. He stayed here several months 
and then went to the Stanton Hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn. We have 
noticed that Mr. Foster has remarkable ability in "sizing up" people, 
and this no doubt he acquired and cultivated while working as hotel 

The Jailer 


But his ambition was more along the newspaper line, and now that 
he was again strong he wrote to the Courier- Journal and Commercial 
for a job. Both papers answered, telling him to come on and go to work. 
He returned to Louisville and went to work as the jeffersonville cor- 
respondent of the Courier- Journal. 

MR. CHAS. C. FOSTER, Jailer 
Jefferson Co., Ky. 

In 1893, when he was twenty-two years of age, he decided to go 
to Boston and seek editorial work, and when he landed in the New 
England metropolis his finances demanded work at once. He sought 
work of Curtis Guild, of the Boston Post, and was told to come back 
in one week to go to work. To look at the subject of this sketch now 

18 The Foster School 

one would say that he had never seen a hungry day, but this week in 
Boston waiting to go to work did give him some real famine pains. 
Col. Foster now tells of a certain restaurant into which he often gazed 
during this week, but into which he did not enter because he "did not 
have the price." 

The much-longed-for Monday morning came and Foster went to 
work doing "police duty." The Chief of Police soon became his 
friend and helped him to get many a "scoop." One day he was called 
into the office of the Managing Editor, Mr. Henry W. Taft, and asked 
if he would like to be Sporting Editor. The young man was afraid of 
the job, but took it anyway. Some time after this "520%" Miller 
loomed up in the advertising world as a "get-rich-quick" operator. 
Quoting Franklin along the line of being careful and thrifty, he 
flooded the mails with circulars and the papers with "ads" setting 
forth how easy it would be for those who would send their earnings 
to him to earn 10% weekly, through his experience in Wall Street 
and his connections by making the proper investments. His main of- 
fice was "in Brooklyn. He opened a branch office in Charlestown, a 
suburb of Boston. He received deposits from policemen, motormen, 
washerwomen and other unsuspecting people. The great bulk of the 
money came from the West. It occurred to the owner of the Post that 
this financiering was worse than frenzied. He decided to turn loose his 
batteries. Mr. Taft asked Foster if he would like to go to New York 
and interview Miller. He went. He found Miller's office in an old- 
fashioned two-story house. The clerks were practically buried in 
stacks of letters and currency. The Chief of Detectives, Reynolds, 
had accompanied the Post's representative to Miller's lair, and both 
received courteous treatment. 

"Have I not made good with everybody?" asked Miller. The Chief 
replied that he had so far. The next day the story of Miller's wild 
scheme was told in the Post with flashing headlines. The following 
day Miller appeared in Boston and tendered the Post a page adver- 
tisement. It was refused, and in less than a week Miller was in the 
toils of the law. Later it appeared that one Bob Amnion, a New York 
lawyer, was found to be the brains of the concern, and was soon com- 
mitted to prison. Thousands of people had been victimized. 

As a reward Foster was made chief of the police reporters of the 
Post, with headquarters at Pemberton Square. We have given this some- 
what in detail because it shows how a fellow by diligence can make 
good when in a strange land where he has not friends to boost. Amer- 
ica likes the young hustler who is not afraid of doing more than his 
pay calls for, and this seems to be one of the secrets of Jailer Foster's 
success today. 

On account of the sickness of his mother Reporter Foster re- 
turned to Louisville, where he resumed work on the Courier-Journal 
and Times. When the Louisville Herald was organized he became 
City Editor. After two years he returned to the Times as Sporting 
Editor and acting City Editor and afterwards Political Editor of the 

The Jailer. 


In 1909 he became Secretary to Mayor Head, where he acquired 
his first experience in the affairs of the public. In 1913 he announced 
himself as a candidate for Jailer, received the Democratic nomina- 
tion and was elected in November. During the month following his 
election he visited the jails of several of the large cities, like Chicago, 
Milwaukee, Philadelphia and New York. 

During his work as a reporter he had always taken an interest in 
stories which came from jails and penitentiaries and read many books 
along the lines of criminology. 

Mr. Foster is a broad-minded man, and this comes as a result of 
his newspaper work, because there is no class of people who are more 
able to see all sides of a question than newspaper people. Indeed, if 
one cannot go to college he can get a good education by working as 
a reporter. There is no phase of life which does not come under his 
observation. Frequently he has to plead a cause in which he may not 
believe. He must be on the watch all the time to get the truth. He 
learns soon to tell the sham from the genuine. Although Mr. Foster 
went no farther than the sixth grade in school, he has had the equiva- 
lent of a liberal education. And this any boy can get, and it would 
be well to get it if it is ever in his mind to in any way be in public life. 

I have observed Jailer Foster closely during my two years in con- 
nection with his work. Recently an old man was lodged in jail. Mr. 
Foster said to the "hall boy" : "Tell those fellows to take good care 
of that old man," and at another time an old couple who had been 
ejected from their house and had no place to go were brought to jail 
and were much worried. Mr. Foster took pains to make them at 
home, remarking that "they could have a good bed tonight." And 
this is the spirit which he has tried to impart to the unfortunate and 
which he desires that those under his command shall impart. 

This is the record and these are the qualifications of a practical, 
common-sense man who has come up in the usual way of the self- 
made American. He had no special qualifications for the office he 
holds other than what we have mentioned and what any man who 
aspires to a position of this kind may have, but when elected he deter- 
mined to make the BEST Jailer, and by just doing one sensible, prac- 
tical thing after another, he is making a record which is a model for 
all men who hold the position of Jailer. 

20 The Foster School 



The fees for the keeping, feeding, incarcerating and releasing of 
City, County, State, Federal and transient prisoners and the furnish- 
ing of light, heat and janitor attendance to the Circuit Courts form 
the medium through which revenues are derived for the jail. 

The "upkeep" expense, such as repairs, painting and the furnish- 
ing of such supplies as brooms, mops, bedding and all such articles, 
are paid by the Fiscal Court, a sworn statement of such expenses 
being furnished the Fiscal Court on the first Tuesday of each month. 

The feeding of the prisoners and all office and general expense 
not included in the upkeep of the jail is paid by the State of Kentucky. 
On the first of each month the Jailer balances his City, County, State 
and United States reports and forwards them to the different courts 
for approval. He then makes out a statement showing the amounts 
received the preceding month, which amount he forwards to the 
Auditor of State, also inclosing a list of expenses for the month, 
sworn to. The Auditor then draws his warrant upon the Treasurer 
for an amount not exceeding 75% of the fees or compensation due 
to or paid to the Jailer for services rendered the preceding month. 
If the amount so paid is not sufficient to pay the salaries and expenses 
of the office for the month the deficit may be made up out of the 
amount due or paid in any succeeding month. 

All amounts over 75% of the fees received from the Jailer by 
the Auditor are credited to the Jailer's account, and at the end of his 
term, should there be any deficit to meet expenses previously certified 
to or due, this reserve fund can be drawn upon to meet any such 

At the present writing the "population" of the jail is about 200, 
whereas a year ago it was around 300. 

The following is a copy of the rules and regulations for the gov- 
ernment and guidance of guards, employes, visitors and inmates of the 
Jefferson County Jail as compiled by Jailer Foster: 


1. It shall be the duty of the Deputy in the office during the day to regis- 
ter prisoners, being careful to ascertain their correct age. It shall then be- 
the duty of the Turnkeys to carefully search them and turn over to the arrest- 
ing officer any valuables such prisoner may possess, to be taken care of by the 
Property Clerk at Central Station. 

2. All money and valuables taken from County prisoners shall be kept 
in the office to be turned over to such prisoner at the time of his release. A 
receipt shall be taken from each prisoner for any valuables so turned over. 

3. A prisoner after being carefully searched by the Turnkey will be ad- 
mitted to the jail proper to be assigned to a cell designated by the proper 

4. The Jailer nor the employes can undertake to protect property brought 
into the jail, and will not be responsible for any losses that may occur. 

5. An individual brought to the jail by an officer is not in the custody of 
the Jailer until after he passes through the main gate at the entrance. 

The Rules of the Jail 


6. Turnkeys at the main gate must be certain when an individual is 
allowed to pass out that such person is not a prisoner. All persons being 
released on bond must be identified before leaving, and all prisoners, after hav- 
ing completed their sentences, must be brought first to the office before being 
allowed to leave. 

7. No official shall leave his post unless given a special permission by the 
Jailer, Chief Deputy or officer in command. 

8. Turnkeys will enforce the rules relating to lawyers visiting prisoners 
in the counsel room. A lawyer must first obtain permission at the jail office 
to see an inmate, the name of the lawyer and likewise that of the prisoner he 
wishes to see being recorded in a book provided for that purpose. A lawyer 
shall only visit a prisoner on request. NO SOLICITING WILL BE AL- 

9. In the absence of the Jailer or Chief Deputy Jailer the Deputy in 
charge of front gate will be the ranking officer. 

10. Copies of all requisitions on account of the jail and court house must 
be kept on file in the jail office. Economy must be practiced. 

To the Guards of the Jefferson County Jaii,. 
General Order No. 1. 
To Be Studied By All Employees and to Be Read by Inmates and Visitors. 

1. All persons, rich or poor, white or black, must receive the same treat- 
ment from the officers and employees of this jail. There must be no discrimi- 

2. The address and telephone number of all employees must be left in 
the office of the Jailer. 

3. Previous to going on duty the Jailer or his representative shall observe 
the guards and other employees to see: 

(a) That they are physically competent to perform their duties. 

(b) That their clothing is neat and presentable. 

(c) That their shoes are in keeping with their uniform. Neatness, 
gentility and sobriety are imperative. Guards must practice forbearance 
and common sense. Safety, security and caution are the watchwords of 

4. As the prisoner is admitted through the cell house gate he must be 
searched again a second time in the apartment arranged for that purpose, and 
finally by the attendant in the tier of cells where assigned, after which he is 
given a bath, if needed. Such person is not to be changed from his cell unless 
authorized to do so by the Jailer, his Chief Deputy, or some person designated 
to exercise that power. No guard is permitted to assign a prisoner as floor boss. 

5. A prisoner must not be punished until the facts concerning his offense 
are submitted to the Jailer or his Chief Deputy. Then the method and duration 
of punishment will be indicated. 

6. No guard will be permitted to visit any court in behalf of a prisoner, 
nor will he be permitted to become surety for an individual under arrest. A 
guard's duty lies in the jail or wherever he may be assigned in connection with 
his official service. 

7. Guards must patrol the jail every thirty minutes and not fail to register 
the trip on the automatic clocks. 

8. Yard guards will open and close the yard gates and patrol the yard 
every thirty minutes. Wagons passing in and out must be inspected coming 
^nd going, guards seeing to it that no prisoner attempts to escape. Only one 
wagon is allowed in the yard at a time. Yard gates must be kept closed. They 
are to be used only for incoming and outgoing wagons. Guards must not 
open the gates and stand on the street. 

9. Guards are not allowed to carry revolvers, but each man must keep 
a loaded revolver in the jail office, where it may be secured without delay 
in case of an emergency. 

10. Day guards, upon assuming their duties, must inspect the cells, take 
a count of the prisoners on the tiers, engine room, halls, etc., to see that 

22 The Foster School 

everything is all right. A report must be made upon blanks furnished for 
this purpose and these shall be turned into the office. Night guards must 
make a similar inspection and report, ascertaining at the office if the census 
so taken agrees with the total number of persons showing on the records. 
They must also carefully examine all doors, gates, etc., seeing to it that all 
are secure. The yard gates must be inspected. 

11. A guard must accompany all visitors within the walls of the jail. At 
night cells must be locked with the "dead lock on," the neutral lock never. 
Guards must not indulge in unnecessary conversation with a prisoner or 

12. Guards must not be messengers for inmates. 

13. Be polite, but firm. 

14. Do not spit upon the floor. Be clean. 

15. The quarters of a prisoner must not be changed unless upon the order 
of the Jailer or his Chief Deputy. 

16. Guards are .on duty only eight hours. For this reason each guard 
must stand his own watch. Guards must relieve each other promptly. The 
jail is entitled to the best service an employee possesses. 

17. Guards will not be permitted to "trade" watches; in other words they 
will not be permitted to remain on duty for each other. 

18. An officer who fails to report for duty must file a convincing reason 
for his absence. 

19. Guards are positively not permitted to entertain friends in the cell- 

20. Guards are not allowed to play cards or any other pastime in the 
jail. Your duties require your exclusive attention. 

21. An employee found under the influence of liquor will be discharged. 


1. The kitchen will be under the personal charge of the steward. He 
will be assisted by the first and second cook. The steward shall purchase 
all supplies and approve bills for every article. He shall twice a year (March 
and October) submit to the Jailer for his approval a list of articles necessary 
for his department for the ensuing six months. 

2. A monthly accounting of expenditures and stock on hand must be 
submitted monthly to the Jailer. 

3. The steward must vary the fare daily for the guards' dining hall and 
all departments of the jail. The food must be first-class and wholesome. He 
will direct the feeding of the prisoners. Breakfast to be served at 6:30 a. m., 
luncheon 12 m., and dinner at 4:30 p. m. All foods must be thoroughly cooked 
and supplied in proper quantities to the prisoners. 

4. Persons employed in the kitchen and those who serve food to the 
inmates must, prior to assignment to this duty, undergo a physical examination 
at the hands of the Jail Physician or his assistant. 

5. The cooks must use skill in the preparation of the plainest food. The 
portions for black and white must be alike and must be liberal. 

6. Special diets must be prepared upon request of the Jail Physician. 

7. The kitchen and everything in connection with it must be kept abso- 
lutely clean in the interest of the general sanitation of the jail. 

8. Firemen in the engine room will receive their rations where they are 


1. The Sanitary Officer will inspect every cell daily or see that this is 
done. He will likewise inspect the entire jail and superintend the cleaning 
of the institution, using disinfectant to destroy vermin, germs, etc. The 
Sanitary Officer has full charge of the cell-houses in the matter of sanitation. 

2. All cells must be neat as well as clean. Every prisoner must clean his 
cell every morning. All bedding must be kept in good condition. Cleanliness 
is the salvation of any jail and is the keystone to reformation. Every nook 
and corner must be sanitary. This promotes health. Crime is disease. 

The Rules of the Jail 


3. Every cell must be provided with clean sheets twice each week. Blankets 
must be washed twice a month. 

4. The storeroom is to be under the supervision of the Sanitary Officer 
and all supplies for this department are to be purchased twice yearly (March 
and October) on requisition to the Fiscal Court, having first been submitted 
to the jailer for approval. 


1. The statutes provide for the appointment of a Matron and an Assistant 
Matron. They are under the direction of the Jailer and the Jailer may 
remove them for the good of the service. 

2. The Matrons are in charge of all female prisoners subject to the order 
of the Jailer or his Chief Deputy. The Matrons must enforce discipline, they 
must see that perfect sanitary conditions exist in the female ward, they must 
exert themselves to improve the mental and moral conditions of the female 
inmates. If offenses are committed by the female prisoners, such as indecency 
and vulgarity or any unseemly conduct, a written detailed report must be made 
to the Jailer. 

3. The Matrons will superintend the work in the laundry, where female 
prisoners will be employed. The service of female prisoners will be utilized 
in supplying bedding and keeping the jail linen clean and in repair. 

4. Matrons must divide the twenty-four hours regularly and receive every 
female prisoner (at all hours). After registration in the office every female 
prisoner must be searched by the Matron, and after having been bathed, shall 
be assigned to quarters. Females must be bathed twice weekly. A daily bath 
is preferable. 

5. Matrons must inspect the female department daily. They must report 
to the physician all cases of illness. Every female prisoner must retire at 8:30 
o'clock p. m. and arise at 5 a. m. The Matrons have the right to assign females 
to tasks. 

6. Matrons must act in harmony in order to promote the general welfare 
of this institution. 


1. The power plant will be in charge of the Chief Engineer. He shall 
have assistants. All supplies for this department must likewise be submitted 
to the Jailer twice yearly (March and October) for his approval to be sub- 
mitted to the Fiscal Court. 

2. Each month the Chief Engineer shall O. K. the various items that are 
forwarded to the office for payment by the Fiscal Court. 


1. The Jailer or his Chief Deputy will visit all parts of the jail daily and 
inspect conditions, ascertain the security of the jail, etc. The duties of the 
Jailer, Chief Deputy or attache so designated, shall exercise general supervision 
and direction of the jail, its officers, inmates, etc. This includes the Matron 
and Assistant Matron. 


2. The guards in the cell-house are to work in shifts of eight hours each. 
This includes the yard men. The hours are as follows : 

7 a. m. to 3 p. m. 
3 p. m. to 11 p. m. 
11 p. m. to 7 a. m. 
In addition to which a general utility man will be assigned duty wherever 
it is expedient to place him, his hours to be: 

9 a. m. to 5 p. m. 
11 p. m. to 7 a. m. 
The office force, Chief Deputy, Turnkeys and Court Deputy on straight 
day watch, with one day off each week. 

3. No attache of the jail will be permitted to bring any intoxicants into 
this institution for his own or the use of anyone else. The penalty will be 

24 The Foster School 

4. Any person who shall sell to a prisoner or bring into the jail any 
liquors, cocaine, morphine, or any other drug for a prisoner shall be deemed 
guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be subject to 
imprisonment for one year and be fined in the discretion of the court. 

5. Prisoners sentenced to the Eddyville Prison and Frankfort Reforma- 
tory or any other institution shall be placed in the upper tiers of the jail until 
the evening before their departure, when they shall be placed on tiers 1st C 
and 1st D. The exception to this rule applies to the juvenile department and 
the female department, in which departments prisoners confined therein shall 
be kept until removed as directed by the court. 

6. If a prisoner feels that he has been mistreated permission is granted 
to make a report to the Jailer. An investigation will be made. 

7. When occasion requires that a prisoner shall be visited at a time other 
than the regular visiting hours application may be made to the Jailer or Chief 
Deputy. Prompt action in the matter will be taken. 

8. Every guard, every attache of any kind, Matron, Assistant Matron, 
etc., must invariably lock every door and gate after passing through. A viola- 
tion of this rule will not be tolerated. 

9. All prisoners tried in the Criminal Court must be escorted there through 
the tunnel and not through the street. Before leaving a check must be made 
to verify the docket. All prisoners for the Criminal Court must be hand- 
cuffed. Guards escorting prisoners to the Criminal Court must lock the tunnel 
gates after passing through. When the tunnel is not in actual use all electric 
lights therein must be turned off. 

10. Officers are forbidden to strike or use violence toward any prisoner 
unless self-preservation justifies it. Under these circumstances all of the facts 
must be submitted to the jailer or his Chief Deputy. 

11. Officers must maintain toward each other and toward those persons 
visiting the jail deportment such as will stamp them as gentlemen. Guards 
must not resort to the use of unbecoming language or boisterous conversa- 
tion; they must not discuss politics nor religious subjects while on duty. 
Holding unnecessary conversation with a prisoner is forbidden. Commenting 
upon the guilt or innocence of a prisoner will not be permitted. 

12. Guards or employees of the jail must not suggest to prisoners or 
persons interested in the prisoners the name or names of lawyers to defend 
them. A guard shall not receive directly or indirectly from any prisoner or 
lawyer any gratuity or compensation for services rendered or to be rendered 
by him or any other person; nor shall he share in any reward or fee paid 
for the defense or release of any prisoner confined in the jail. No officer 
must aid an inmate in any legal undertaking nor will any officer be allowed 
to seek clemency for an inmate. 

13. All employees are hereby informed that if they accept any money, 
or its equivalent, for favors granted by them to persons confined in this jail 
such employees will be at once dismissed by the Jailer. 

14 When a prisoner is taken to court or is called to the counsel room 
his cell must be locked as soon as the prisoner leaves it and kept locked until 
its former occupant or another prisoner is brought to it. 

15. Under no c'rcumstances will a visitor be permitted to see a prisoner 
in a cell. Persons known to the officials as criminals will not be permitted 
to enter the jail as visitors except by special permission from the Jailer or 
his Chief Deputy. Lewd characters will not be permitted to enter the jail 
as visitors. 

16. Every package brought to a prisoner must be left in the visitor's 
room for inspection. The name of individual for whom package is intended 
must be in legible writing. Bottles, jars, glasses, tin cans, canned goods, 
home-made cooking, cigarettes, or cigarette paper will not be accepted. Food, 
fruit (except bananas), tobacco and clothing will be received. 

17. Articles of food prepared at home will not be received. All meals 
must come from a reputable restaurant. Waiters are not allowed to enter 
the corridor of the jail. All baskets, bundles, etc., are subject to inspection. 

18. _ Prisoners are not permitted to play cards or dice. Gambling of no 
kind will be countenanced. Offenses of this nature will call for punishment. 

The Rules of the Jail 


Dominoes and checkers will be supplied inmates, also books, papers, etc. The 
prisoners have the volumes of the Louisville Free Public Library at their 

19. The names of persons committing thefts in jail will be referred to 
the grand jury. Petty pilfering among prisoners will call for punishment 
and the Jailer or his Chief Deputy will impose the penalty. Similar action 
will be taken in all instances whereby inmates violate the rules and regulations 
of the jail. 

20. Tuesday is visiting day for the colored people and Friday for white 
people. The hours are from 10 to 11:30 a. m. and 1 to 2:30 p. m. The 
prisoners will be brought to the cell-house gate, where benches will be pro- 
vided for them, and their relatives and friends will stand at the gate to con- 
verse for ten minutes. A guard must always be in attendance during these 
hours at the gate. Visitors under the influence of liquor will not be admitted. 

21. Shaving days are Wednesday and Saturday. Barbers will work on 
the south end of the exercise walk of each tier. Prisoners will not be barbered 
on the floor of the cell-house. All razors, shears, etc., must be returned to 
the jail office by 5 p. m. 

22. Prisoners must be classified with degrees of criminality. Departments 
are available for first and second offenders of both sexes. Colored inmates 
must be segregated. 

23. Those prisoners suffering from tuberculosis, also venereal diseases, 
must be segregated. 

24. After inmates are locked up at 5:30 p. m. they cannot be seen unless 
authority is given by the Jailer or his Chief Deputy. 

25. No filthy or diseased prisoner shall be placed in a cell with a clean 

26. An officer detailed on night duty, who is granted a night off, must 
at 6 o'clock in the afternoon telephone to the office to ascertain if his services 
are required. 

27. Visitors admitted Sunday from 10 a. m. until noon. Chapel services 
will be conducted Sunday afternoon, beginning at 1:15 o'clock. Every pris- 
oner is urged to attend and is expected to be respectful throughout the 

28. Every rule, insofar as is practicable, applies to the Matron, Assistant 
Matron and female prisoners, and any dereliction or violation upon their part 
will call for the discipline applying in the cases of the male officers and 

29. The Jailer may regulate the amount of money any prisoner may 
have in his possession. In the event such prisoner has any sum over $2.00 
it must be deposited in the office of the jail to the credit of the prisoner. 

30. All prisoners who are to be released on bond or those whose time 
expires must be brought to the office in charge of an officer attached to the 
jail. This for the purpose of identification. 

31. An individual under 14 years of age accused of a crime cannot be 
received in jail even if accompanied by an officer. Such a person must be 
sent to the Detention Home. Juvenile offenders over 14 and up to 16 years 
of age, black and white, must be placed in separate wards. Others of the 
first offenders class, 17 to 21, must be placed in First "A" cell-house. 

32. The walls must not be defaced. In short, be as careful of the 
institution and its equipment as you would your own home. 

33. Inmates must not unnecessarily waste water in the cells and bath 
rooms. Guards must see that this rule is observed. 

34. The Jailer is empowered to avail himself of the services of any 
prisoner in the varied tasks to be performed in the institution. Refusal to 
work calls for discipline. When an individual is committed to jail he "belongs" 
exclusively to the Jailer. 

35. Inmates must not address visitors in the jail unless first spoken to. 
Then they must be respectful. No prisoner is permitted to beg in jail. 

36. These rules will be enforced. Violation means, for a prisoner, strict 
discipline, and for an officer, suspension or dismissal. Influence, personal or 
political, will not retard the Jailer from a duty, the performance of which 

26 The Foster School 

will work for the ultimate advancement of the conditions of the prisoner or 
the administration of the jail. 


1. The Jail Physician or his assistant must visit the tiers twice daily 
and oftener if necessary. Alocholic victims, those prisoners under mental 
observation and those prisoners who for any reason may be regarded as 
"suspicious cases," within the meaning of medical inquiry, must be accorded 
every attention. At midnight or before retiring the physician must visit the 
C. and D. receiving tiers and also the hospital and see if any prisoner requires 

2. The jail is equipped with a modern drug store. 

3. The jail hospital is available at any moment for prisoners who are ill. 


Prisoners' mail incoming will be delivered by an official from the jail 
office. The same official will collect twice daily from the tiers all outgoing 
mail. Letters must be unsealed. Prisoners must not make use of objectionable 
matter in any letter. Any attempt to smuggle mail out of the jail will cause 
infliction of punishment. 

Regarding the right of prisoners to receive mail, it has been held by the 
Post Office Department: 

"That the State or Municipal Government may deprive him (a citizen) 
of life, liberty or property. Among other things of which it may deprive 
him is of using the mails for any purpose. Among other classes of property 
of which it may deprive him is his property in letters addressed to him. It 
need not, of course, be said that all of this must be done by due process of 
law. The Municipal authority may prescribe, among other rules for his con- 
finement, that he shall receive no sealed communication from persons outside 
of the prison, and may direct that no postal officer or other person be allowed 
to deliver to him any communication. All this the local authorities may do as 
a means of enforcing local law. The local authorities may so guard the 
prisoner as to prevent him receiving mail matter addressed to him." 

Prisoners who falsify in letters for any purpose whatever will be denied 
the privilege of receiving or sending out mail. Prisoners who seek to smuggle 
notes to each other in jail will be subject to discipline. 


1. Those who desire to see a Federal prisoner must first secure from 
the United States Marshal permission to do so. These orders must be secured 
to apply to the visiting days — Tuesday, for colored people; Friday, for white 

2. Federal prisoners are required to obey the rules and regulations of 
the jail just as applies to other prisoners. The Jailer has the right to assign 
them tasks. 

3. Federal prisoners must be kept in specified tiers, not assigned indis- 


Inmates, male or female, who comply with the rules laid down by the 

Jailer may avail themselves of the jail's school. Books are at the disposal 

of the prisoners. Instruction will be given in the various grades. Those 

persons diligently applying themselves are certain to acquire helpful knowledge. 

Books from the Louisville Free Public Library are at the disposal of 
the inmates of this jail. They are distributed weekly. Those prisoners who 
accept them must handle them with care and appreciation. Defacement of any 
part of any book means the infliction of punishment and prosecution. The 
law applying to the theft of library books or their ill-treatment is as follows : 

The Rules of the Jail 27 

"Any person who shall willfully cut or tear out any book, newspaper, 
periodical or any literary work or production whatever, any leaf, picture, 
painting or engraving, or in any other manner mutilate, destroy or injure any 
such book, newspaper, periodical or any other literary work or production 
whatever, kept in any public library, legislative hall, clerk's office, court room, 
sheriff's, judge's or county treasurer's office, shall be fined not less than twenty 
nor more than one hundred dollars." — Kentucky Statutes, Carroll, 1909, Sec- 
tion 1264. 

The same applies to the Bible in every cell and room in the jail. These 
Bibles were presented by the Young People's Societies of the Churches o£ 


Section 1235. ESCAPE FROM JAIL— If any person confined in jail on 
conviction of a felony shall escape therefrom, he shall for such escape be 
confined in the penitentiary one year. 

CAPE — If a Jailer or other officer, or a guard, voluntarily suffer a prisoner 
in his charge or custody, convicted of or charged with a felony, to escape, 
he shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than five 

When a person is lawfully detained as a prisoner in any jail, or in custody, 
if any person shall convey anything into the jail or county prison, with intent 
to facilitate the prisoner's escape therefrom, or shall aid him in any way to 
escape, or in the attempt to escape, from such jail or custody, or shall forcibly 
rescue, or attempt to rescue him therefrom, if such rescue or escape be effected, 
he shall, if the prisoner was detained on a conviction or on a charge of felony, 
be confined in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than five years. 

prisoner confined on a sentence of imprisonment, or to be whipped, or under 
a capias, escapes jail, or if a person lawfully arrested upon a charge for a 
violation of the criminal or penal laws forcibly or by bribery effects his 
escape from the officer or guard, he shall be confined in jail not less than 
six nor more than twelve months. 

or guard negligently suffer or permit a person convicted of, or charged with, a 
public offense to escape, or willfully refuse to receive any person lawfully 
ordered into his custody, he shall be fined not less than one hundred nor more 
than five hundred dollars, or confined in the county jail not less than one nor 
more than six months, or both. 

EFFORT TO ESCAPE— When a prisoner charged with a felony is lawfully 
detained in any jail or in custody, any person who shall in any way aid or 
assist him to escape, if the escape is not effected ; or if the person detained 
is charged with a misdemeanor, whether the escape be effected or not, the 
person so aiding or assisting shall be fined not less than one hundred nor more 
than five hundred dollars. 

HARBORING OR CONCEALING— PENALTY— Any person who shall aid, 
assist or abet any male or female to escape from the House of Reform, the 
City Workhouse or any other penal institution, or shall harbor or conceal 
such persons, knowing them to have escaped, shall, upon conviction, be fined 
not less than one hundred dollars, or be confined in the county jail not less 
than thirty days, or both, at the discretion of the jury. 

28 The Foster School 



It is a very interesting hour that one spends watching and inter- 
viewing those who pass the portals of this institution, which has not 
only a large local patronage, but it is so located that the ''birds of 
passage" that go from Eastern cities of Boston, Buffalo, Pittsburgh 
and Cincinnati along the Ohio to the West and from the West back 
to East make this a stopping-over place. Also those "birds" who 
migrate from Chicago and Northern cities to the South in winter 
pay us a visit, and again in the spring when they go from New 
Orleans, Atlanta and other cities to Northern points. It is interesting 
to note the different individuals by the terminology which is used by 
them in their world. A very large majority of people are here because 
of drink, known as "jimmies," when they have delirium tremens. 
There is the dope fiend, who smokes opium ; "the hop," who takes 
morphine by means of the needle. There is the class of persons who 
commit theft in one form or another. In this class the petty larceny 
man is most numerous. The burglar, "yeggman" or safeblower, the 
"second-story man," who climbs porches to steal; the hold-up man, 
known in underworld parlance as the "stick-up" man; the nitro- 
glycerin man ; the "boxcar jockey," who rides and robs freight cars, 
and the chicken thief all make their way to this place finally. 

There is another individual known as the "pimp," a man who is 
generally supported by a prostitute. 

A characteristic list of these fellows will give an idea of the range 
of their crimes. The green goods man — one who sells worthless 
securities to farmers and swindles poor people. The beef stew slinger 
-—a very bad soloist. The flying jib — a talkative drunk. The Willie 
boy — an effeminate man, submerged manhood. The cheap thief — one 
who steals from church poor-boxes. The moll-buzzer — the thief who 
steals only from women. The gun moll — a woman thief. The swell 
booster — the successful female shoplifter. The capper — the go- 
between for gamblers and street fakirs. The musser — a fighter, a 
bully. The shark hunter — a thief on the lookout for a drunken man. 

The nicknames of these fellows are very characteristic and 
lead to the suggestion that their thought goes back to the 
realm of barbarism. Men known by such names as "Red 
Bug," "Pig Ankle," "Afraid - to - Go - Home - in - the - Dark," "Rag 
Around the. Neck," "Heavy Head," "Gold Tooth," "Honest John," 
"Honey in the Rock," "Ground Hog" have been in custody from time 
to time. The above names are used altogether by the "colored con- 
tingent." There is another interesting class of jail names here gen- 
erally characteristic of those who have been convicted of some form 
of theft. They are "Tinhouse Shorty," "Big Bill Doolev," "Tune 
Apple," "Feed Mv Dog," "Funk House" (Bad Odor), "Bear," "Buf- 
falo," "Black Strap," "Cush Eve," "Topsy," "Sham," "Hoop-in- 
Poop," "Wap," "Mexican Toe," '"'Dog Face," "Monk," "Yellow Sal," 

Who "Gets in Jail" 29 

"Toronto Jimmy/' "My Pal," "Slocum," "Hobby Dick/" kk Hop," 
"Frog," "Bruiser." 

Of course we have the murderer, the homicide, and occasionally 
for a day or so a crazy person until the legal steps can be taken to 
lodge them in the asylum at Lakeland. 

There is always present the forger. Sometimes a wife-beater is 
lodged here. Occasionally a person is sent here for contempt of court. 
In fact, persons held for every crime under the law are lodged here, 
and we may say that some of the shrewdest criminals known to the 
criminal world have been landed by Louisville detectives and police. 

The unsuspecting public little dreams of the artful plans which a 
part of the world is continually "putting up" on it. Just as in the 
days of old, when Cataline "marked off" for slaughter certain men 
in Rome, so today there are artful "conspirators" studying every 
crowd that has continuous gatherings, checking off such "easy marks" 
as make display of money or jewelry. One of our "schoolboys" belongs 
to this class of criminal. His home was in Chicago and he belongs 
to the gang which has its attorney and money in bank ready at any 
time to give aid to a member who is so "unfortunate" as to be caught. 
In an intercepted letter he had told to a Chicago partner how he had 
"boosted a leather" and was planning other things in the crowd that 
attended the armory the week before our soldier boys were sent to 
the Mexican border last spring. He had come to Kentucky to commit 
certain types of crime which the detective system had not yet learned 
to handle and because it was calculated that he could afford to take 
the punishment if caught and still be ahead of the game. 

No persons under fourteen years of age are allowed to be "put in 
jail ;" such persons must be sent to the Board of Children's Guardians. 
This is a State law. 

The County of Jefferson has about 300,000 population, and of this 
population 7,500 land in jail every year, which means one out of each 
forty. Of course this is reduced by the fact that some persons get 
into jail more than once and by the fact 25% of the 7,500 are out-of- 
town "guests." These last figures may, however, be balanced by the 
probability that as many of our people are from time to time "guests" 
in other institutions of a like character over the world. 

Race and nationality also show themselves very plainly. About 
65^5 of all persons here are negroes. One Japanese has served a 
sentence recently. In the matter of nationality it is difficult to come 
to any conclusion. Of course nearly all are American-born, because 
Kentucky's population is practically the purest American blood, there 
being comparatively few foreign-born persons residing in the State. 
But the joke is on the Irish, because more than 50% give Irish names. 
But this is not so bad on "us," because 90% of the names are assumed. 

From the various trades and professions we judge that no occupa- 
tion, not even the ministry, is immune from crime. Every physical 
type and every "broken physical type" may be seen to arrive within 
twenty-four hours. 

Tt is difficult to make calculations as to which is most numerous. 
They range all the way from the hardest looking "rough-neck 1 ' to the 

30 The Foster School 

most genteel-looking cultured person to be seen in any drawing-room 
or fashionable club of our cultured city. And this is true not only of 
men but of women. 

We can say the same of mental types, but for the purposes ot 
school we attempt to classify them into three divisions: 

In Class "C" we place all those who cannot read and write, and 
the work for them ranges from the first to the fourth grade of the 
common branches. There may have been reasons other than lack of 
mental ability for this "retardation;" indeed this is nearly always the 


In Class "B" we place all those who have had a common school 
education or can read the papers, any book, or have had a business or 

In Class "A" we place the person who has had a high school or col- 
lege education or who shows by his conversation and work to have 
an acquired • ability along some special line. 

Criminologists," anthropologists and social workers have written 
a great deal about the Cause of Crime, and these causes have taken 
a wide range. One well-known writer says that the causes of crime 
all come under three words — heredity, environment and wickedness. 
If heredity is a cause of crime, we are a long way from the solution 
of the problem, because we cannot change the laws of nature, nor can 
we stop them to an effective degree by sterilization. However, some 
wonderful things have been done in this line by surgery, but the prob- 
lem is so great that the remedy must be sought in methods which can 
have a universal application. 

Environment certainly does have a great deal to do with crime, 
yet from investigations which were world-wide in their reach it was 
found that out of every one hundred (100) persons taken from the 
worst environment of many of the largest cities of the world that 
sixty (60) never got into any trouble, five (5) committed suicide, five 
(5) went crazy, f\\e (5) became paupers, and twenty-five (25) got 
into trouble and were brought into court. 

Society should always be on the alert to eliminate bad homes, bad 
neighborhoods, bad associates, bad laws and poverty, but, like the 
"poor," we will "always have these with us," and we must seek to 
find a solution more immediately effective. As to wickedness, we 
assume this to be a state of mind, and therefore the mind is the 
proper element upon which to work. 

Some European anthropologists say that a man commits crime 
because he is of a certain physical type, but we have seen every day 
ten persons on the street of that same physical type who have not 
committed crime to each one we see in jail. 

Some think that climate has much to do with crime, and indeed 
we notice that arrests are much more numerous on hot nights, but we 
will always have to contend with hot nights, and therefore the solution 
of crime cannot come by working on the weather. 

Considered from every standpoint, it seems that the most tangible 
place to begin to alleviate crime is through its mental phases. In a 
jail especially can the most effective results be reached by placing the 
unfortunates in as near a normal mental attitude as possible. 

The Jail Life 31 



When the turnkey closes the door behind the prisoner he is then 
in the custody of the Jailer. Until that time the responsibility for the 
prisoner rests with the officer who brings him to the jail. After being 
slated and searched the prisoner is passed into the cellroom, where he 
is at once conducted by the guard to the receiving tier. The "tier 
boss" then informs the newcomer that he is assigned for the night to 
a certain cell and that his first duties are to take a bath and clean up 
generally. If the prisoner is inclined to think that he is not in need 
of a bath he is at once shown that this is imperative, and in many 
instances has to be forcibly put into the bath. Many are not in condi- 
tion, because of drunkenness, to take care of themselves, and are 
therefore bathed by the tier boss and his assistant. The Jailer's be- 
lief is that "cleanliness is the first step upwards," and always and 
positively insists that the rule of cleanliness be carried out thoroughly. 
Each morning at 8 o'clock the jail physician makes an examination 
of every person brought in the day before. If there is a tubercular 
patient he is sent to the tubercular ward. If there is a person with 
a venereal disease he is at once isolated by being put into the ward for 
that class of prisoners. Persons whose condition suggests contagious 
disease of any kind are also isolated. The Jailer insists on the regu- 
larity of the life of the prisoner. It's quite noticeable the person who 
gets into jail is a person of unsettled habits. The second step upward 
is the beginning of regular habits by rising at 5 a. m. Each person 
must first clean up his cell, wash himself and prepare for breakfast 
by 6:15 a. m. .Luncheon is served at 12 m. and dinner at 4:30 p. m. 

During the day the prisoner has the freedom of the walk, and at 
5 p. m. he must retire to his cell, which is then locked. At 9:30 p. m. 
all lights in the cell are put out and no noise of any kind is permitted, 
not even talking among prisoners. 

The prisoner must therefore sleep or remain quiet at least seven 
and one-half hours, and may sleep eleven hours if he so desires. 
Many interesting stories are told by prisoners of how their nights are 
spent. One fellow says that every night he is awakened by the feeling 
that something is after him and he is startled until he realizes where 
he is and becomes fully awake. Then he lies awake for hours "think- 
ing" over things. Perhaps he reflects over a dark past. He may 
measure his mistakes, his failures, his successes. One prisoner says 
that he thinks there are about two ideas that fill the minds of most 
prisoners, especially if their time is nearly up. These are the first 
meal when he is out of jail; the other is the satisfaction of sexual 
desires. Another fellow whose physical appearance causes one to 
believe that he has come from a family where a shrewd intellect was 
an inherited quality sits in his cell and coldly and deliberately plans 
what he means to do to catch the next victim when he has served his 
time. Sometimes he goes baek over his criminal acts and points out 


The Foster School 

The tiers taken from second balcony. 

The Jail Life 33 

to himself where he made mistakes and figures out how much more 
he would have gotten had he done the job otherwise. 

There are few persons who can match wits with these fellows, not 
even the shrewdest detective. They know the law ; they know all the 
ways of the law, because they belong to the class, the organization, 
the fraternity of the systematic criminal world. 

It is a fact that the inmate spends his time not in a normal state 
of mind, but in that abnormal state which leads to his incarceration 
or to making plans for future operations. I do not mean to say that 
no one of them becomes sorry for what he has done. I think many 
of them do. I think the jail offers the opportunity for that psycho- 
logical reaction which nearly always comes after a fit of anger or an 
act of evil. I believe in the religion of repentance, but I am sure that 
it is a natural psychological process which the criminologist must rec- 
ognize in the future just as the minister used it in the past, but under- 
stood it less. 

It is in this phase of the jail life that the problem is most perplex- 
ing. After the inmate has cleaned himself up for the day, what else 
is there for him to do but weigh time which "hangs over his head." 
It has been thought that the man in jail could not be employed, that 
he could only be detained. Yet without any money for shops or 
schools Mr. Foster has gone far in the solution of this problem. And, 
taking into account the condition of jails in general and the lack of 
willingness on the part of the public the nation over to better jails, 
we certainly think that this beginning is the wisest one ; that the re- 
demption of the fellow who "has stepped out of line" with the inarch 
of right living is a question of psychology, and that "school is what 
will pull him back." 



We generally think of rights in legal terminology. When we 
search the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of our 
State, the laws of our State we find no law respecting the "rights" 
of a prisoner. We find the rights of the accused "sufficiently 
guarded," but certainly it cannot be said that a man as a prisoner has 
no rights. Yet the law gives no recognition. We take it that what- 
ever Nature creates and makes necessary for one's natural and normal 
existence is his right. For instance, Nature gave us life, which is 
therefore our right until by Nature it is taken or we have by our 
actions become such a danger to society that we have forfeited our 
life. Nature made it necessary for one to eat in order that one may 
live. It is therefore one's right to have enough food to sustain life. 
But yet there is nothing specific in the law that guarantees the right 
to food to the prisoner. In fact, the theory of the law is that when 
a person is taken charge of by the officer of the law he has no rights 
as a prisoner which are recognized in the Constitution or Statutes of 

the Nation or State. 

34 The Foster School 

Yet there are some natural rights which a prisoner must have pro- 
tected to him. The prisoner's right to continue to hold the title to his 
property is perhaps recognized by the statute which allows the court 
to appoint a curator for his property. But if he brings property to 
the jail he cannot retain possession of it, and should not, because it 
might be used to effect his escape. The right of man to have his body 
in as good shape physically when he comes out of jail as it was when 
he came in ought to be protected to him. First, because no man can 
fill a place well who is not in good physical condition, and, second, 
because of society, upon which he will again be thrown either as a 
beggar or as a criminal a second time. Society, then, to protect itself 
ought to make proper guarantee of the right to physical soundness. 
In the same way the prisoner has the right to have his body free from 
contagious diseases. In this jail due precaution is taken by examina- 
tion and isolation of every person in any way suspected of venereal 
or other contagious diseases. 

The right to think cannot be denied anyone, and the right to im- 
prove one's mind ought not to be denied to anyone, even though he 
be a prisoner. And this right Mr. Foster has sought to give every 
guarantee of in the way of a school, of reading, and of conversation 
with fellow prisoners. Yet if he thought a prisoner was improving 
or rather corrupting his mind by learning more about crime, he 
would at once take steps to stop such. 

It cannot be said that a prisoner has any social rights. It is of 
course inferred that the right of the accused to counsel implies the 
right of a prisoner to see his attorney, but further than that anything 
in the nature of social right become privileges granted by the Jailer. 
The nature of the situation demands that this power be given to the 
Jailer. If a person were allowed visitors without restriction, imple- 
ments of self-destruction and tools for jail-breaking could be carried 
into the jail and thus the whole purpose of the law defeated. The 
same principle holds good in the matter of the correspondence of the 
prisoner. Outside friends think it a hardship that all mail must be 
censored, yet very highly respected people have sought to break the 
rules of the Jailer by sending drugs to prisoners through the mails. 

One might think that a prisoner has the right to have bundles or 
baskets of food sent in, but in one basket of food was found a full 
set of saws for sawing the hardest steel. Nearly every device known 
to criminal genius is used to furnish opium, morphine and cocaine to 
prisoners. Many times these things will be found in oranges, bananas 
or even candy. It is, therefore, quite a question as to whether the 
Jailer ought to grant even the privilege of an outside meal. 

When a person goes through the jail he naturally wants to see the 
most notorious of the prisoners. Here we are constrained to think 
that the prisoner has a right to withdraw from the gaze of the on- 
looker. The prisoner certainly has the right not to be questioned by 
visitors, yet the first thing many visitors do is to seek to question pris- 
oners about "what they are in here for." It seems that in the nature 
of things the prisoner ought to have some protection, but then we 

The Jail Life 35 

must also remember that society's greatest duty is to protect itself, 
and that each individual in society can best do that by knowing the 
injurious agents which would seek to destroy it. In this light it is 
the right of the public to "gaze on" the prisoner. 

It has been said that a man's house is his castle, but a prisoner's 
cell is not his castle. This must be open to search by the guards of 
the jail so that any dangerous tool may be taken and that proper sani- 
tary conditions maintain. 

It may be well to say that the prisoner will not agree with all that 
we have said about his rights. Yet many of the best prisoners will 
recognize everything we have said as just. It is generally noticed that 
the fellow whose actions are most unworthy is the fellow who 
imagines he is being abused. But the great majority, the State, 
society has the first consideration, and from this standpoint the rights 
of the prisoner must be surveyed. 



The story of the origin of the idea of the school is an interesting 
one and shows in a most natural way how real institutions for the 
good of man originate. I asked Mr. Foster to tell me how the idea 
of school in jail came to him, and I am telling it, as nearly as I can, 
as he told it to me : 

"Soon after I became Jailer I began to think about what caused 
people to be in jail. I noticed that most of the prisoners had the 
minds of children. There was a boy in jail who had come from the 
mountains with his people and who, soon after he had been a resident 
here, had gotten into a fight, during which he killed another boy with 
a stick and in course of time was given two years in jail. "H. J.," we 
will call him, was soon made a 'tier boss.' In a few days a man was 
put on 'H. J.'s' tier who had been a highwayman, a train robber, had 
held up a woman with a baby and taken $30, had gone West, was 
brought back and was being held for trial. He tried to commit sui- 
cide. He conceived the idea of insanity; he began by giving imita- 
tions of scenes on the sinking Titanic. He would spend his time in 
running an imaginary engine and in reproducing the cries of the 
drowning victims. At times he would vary this by making sounds like 
a locomotive. 'H. J.' was instructed to watch the shamming prisoner, 
who refused to partake of food. The prisoner became so boisterous 
and apparently desperate that it was deemed advisable to strap him 
to a cot. The belief meanwhile grew in the mind of the Jailer that 
the maniac was entirely rational. This belief was subsequently justi- 
fied when the jail physician inserted into the arm of the prisoner, 
using a hypodermic, pure water, the prisoner pretending to believe 
that an effort was being made to kill him. The prisoner had pretended 
that he was starving, but when he was placed on the scales it was 
found that he had been taking on weight. Then it was that 'H. J.' 
confessed that he had been saving food for his fellow-prisoner and 

36 The Foster School 

secretly feeding him. He pleaded ignorance and said that he did not 
know the difference between right and wrong; citing that he could 
neither read nor write. The Jailer remarked to him that he would 
undertake to teach him the difference between right and wrong 
through the medium of education. Thus the jail school came into 
existence, and 'H. J.' did learn to read and write." 

The first year of the school was carried on in the boys' ward. 
A man who had been an insurance agent of some ability as well as 
a "preacher" was put in charge, given some common school text-books, 
and each boy that landed in jail was given a review of the common 
branches. It was at this time that I made a visit to the jail and was 
so impressed with the extraordinary qualities of Jailer Foster that I 
asked the privilege of assisting him in whatever way I could. Upon 
my return to work in September of the next year I offered to give 
a course of lectures in civics to the boys in jail. During this second 
year of school I came to the jail twice each week, giving each time 
a lecture on some phase of civics. At the same time I was studying 
the jail problem and catching the spirit of Mr. Foster. During the 
summer of 1915 Mr. Foster had decided that the school should be 
expanded, and accordingly fitted up two schoolrooms, one for men and 
one for women. In September it seemed that Supt. Holland, of the 
city schools, meant to take an interest, and accordingly had appointed 
two young men, principals of ward schools, to take charge of the 
school. After due consideration Mr. Foster decided that a jail school 
was a particular proposition within itself and called for a person per- 
haps somewhat different from the regular stereotyped teacher to direct 
it. A few days later he remarked to me that if I would stay by him 
we would work the problem out ourselves. And a jail school is a 
peculiar proposition in many ways, yet I see no reason why it is dif- 
ferent from what I think a regular day school should be. I am trying 
to measure our jail school by standards set forth in Dr. Dewey's 
book, "Schools of Tomorrow," and I believe that eventually we will 
come nearer the realization of the true school than the present-day 
schools because we have "no tradition to bind us" and we have no 
"system to defend." 

Since September, 1915, the jail school has developed beyond our 
expectations. We have gone from one little thing to another until 
in July, 1916, there have been taught within the walls of the Jefferson 
County Jail twenty-four different subjects by twenty-five teachers. More 
than one hundred and fifty persons have learned, at least something, 
about one or more of these subjects. The school was started with a 
class of about twenty men in review of the common branches which 
has been continued throughout the year. Some time in October some 
of the colored girls asked if they could not have school. This was a 
"new one" for me. By the help, however, of the matrons, this depart- 
ment was soon a realization, and one of the best teachers I have 
known (a little one-eyed negro woman) was found, and we soon con- 
cluded, on the basis of what we saw her do, that the inmates them- 
selves should do the teaching. 

The History of the School 


Upper Cut School for Men. Lower Cut School for Women. 


38 The Foster School 

It was some time in November that I asked the boys to write me 
their impressions of the effort we had made toward a school. I sug- 
gested that they might take the matter up in an historical way and 
that they agree on a name for the school. One of them suggested 
that the name should be THE FOSTER SCHOOL, and immediately 
everyone agreed that that was "just the name." And there are two 
reasons for the name: first, the honor is due the Jailer, Mr. Charles 
C. Foster, as the founder and best friend under whose authority it 
exists, and, second, it is an institution that the public should "foster." 

the: high school department. 

One day in February last while in conversation with Mr. Foster 
on general topics he suggested to me that I might see what I could 
do with a certain boy who happened to be here. I looked him over 
and thought it would be well to allow the young man to think things 
over for awhile. Finally one day I asked him how he would like to 
go to high school. He said, "I certainly would like that." In a few 
days we planned to have five of the strong, manly boys from the Boys' 
High School come, one each day, to the boys' ward and teach him the 
same subjects taught in the Boys' High School in as near the same 
way as possible. These boys continued to do this until commence- 
ment week, when each one went to work, and of course had to resign 
from the "faculty of the Foster School." The boys of the "faculty" 
have been greatly pleased to do this work, but a greater thing has 
been done by this, and that is "we have found the way to help the 
unfortunate boy who has made the mistake which brought him here." 

In June it was thought fitting and proper that some mention might 
be made in a public way of what had been done in the Foster School, 
and accordingly the First Commencement of the Foster School was 
held in the chapel of the jail. 

And we hope that it was not only the commencement of greater 
work for the unfortunate of Louisville, but for all those everywhere 
who have a "short term in jail." 



There is a prominent educator who in all appearances in public 
has made only one speech, and that is, in substance, "The great edu- 
cational machine which I have created puts through its parts every 
year 257000 pupils, giving all of them the same course of treatment, 
thus making them absolutely democratic." 

No mistake in education is greater than this, and nothing is more 
undemocratic than to put every child through the same course of 
study, no matter what his inheritance, his past or his future prospects 
may be. No two persons in this world are equal or alike. And, there- 
fore, no two people will learn the same thing in the same way. Recent 
experiments in education show that the curriculum which allows the 
largest freedom of development is most nearly the ideal school. The 

Principles 39 

Foster School follows the idea of "individualization ;" that is, that 
every person must be dealt with according to his individuality and 
his needs at the present time. This is best explained by illustration. 
"Will B." was given a thirty-day sentence. On the next day after he 
came from court he was asked if he wanted to go to school, and he 
replied, "What's the use? I can't read." He was a driver for one of 
the coal dealers. He could neither read nor write, and when he had 
loaded his wagon he was told to go to a certain neighborhood and stop 
his mules and take his coal bill and go to a house, ring the bell and ask 
the person answering the bell to read the bill and tell him where to go. 
He had thus taken his employer's time, his own time and the time of 
some housekeeper, all because he could not read. We saw at once that 
in his case he should be taught to read the street signs and then to sign 
his name and fill out everything that was required in a bill when de- 
livering coal. He was taught not only this, but he was taught to figure 
the cost of different amounts of coal. He also learned to figure ■ 
his wages. This was quite a valuable lot of "education" for a colored 
coal driver to learn in less than thirty days. Thus every person is a 
problem different from every other person, and the effort is made to 
teach the pupil what is most useful to him, taking into consideration 
the amount of time and his ability for mental advancement. 

A second principle upon which most of the work of The Foster 
School is based is that of clear thinking. As has been said before, the 
trouble of the "jail pupils" has been more mental than physical. They 
are found to have no logical ways of thinking. They always "jump 
at conclusions." If they are set to do a piece of work they begin at 
the middle. A lesson in writing and domestic science will illustrate 
the method which one of our teachers, an inmate, used in leading a 
class into clear thinking. This was a class of about seven negro 
women, some of whom were beginning to write, others could write 
well, but knew little about the subject at hand. A visitor on this par- 
ticular day was asked to suggest a subject. The subject suggested 
was "How to Clean a Room." The teacher then asked what would 
be the first thing to do. Each pupil had a suggestion. One said she 
would remove all ornaments ; another said she would take the chairs 
out of the room first ; another said she would dust the carpet first, and 
so on. They were made to go slow and work out the "directions" just 
as they should be done by the most diligent housekeeper. Below is a 
copy of the directions as worked out by the class: 

December 9, 1915. 


By Josie Mudd. 
Take ornaments down and wash, place on bed and cover up. Dust 
and remove chairs. Remove rugs, open windows, then sweep. Wipe 
woodwork, including mantelpiece and tiling. Dust and replace chairs, 
rugs and ornaments. 


(Don't you think you would replace the rug before the chairs?) 

G. T. R. 

40 The Foster School 

In every class the teacher is cautioned to go slowly and to be sure 
that things are thought out logically and clearly. All work in what 
is usually called English is put on the basis of clear thinking. It is 
now becoming the practice of the best English teachers to put the 
emphasis upon logical thinking rather than upon the technique of the 

The third idea is that of small classes and "pupils" helping 
one another. The smaller the class the nearer to each pupil the teacher 
can come, closer supervision of work can be given. If the teacher 
is a good one the personal contact is a great benefit to the pupils. On 
this same principle helping one another is also encouraged. If there t 
is a fellow who wants to learn to do a certain thing, some fellow who* 
knows the subject takes him in hand and teaches him until the subject 
is mastered. This is good for both, because many times a teacher 
learns as much in teaching as he does in "going to school." 

The professional school man in visiting The Foster School will in 
all probability give as his first criticism that there is no "organiza- 
tion" in the school. It is the intention of The Foster School to have 
as little organization as possible. In the first place we believe that 
the great French writer on criminology, H. Tarde, has in his book, 
"Penal Philosophy," given, nearer than any other writer, the last 
word on the subject. We quote from the author's foreword of the 
above book: "In the history of philosophy we may distinguish two 
kinds of thinkers. There is one kind who choose their direction and 
march methodically toward their objective point, constructing step 
by step an intentional and premeditated synthesis. The other kind 
go, without apparent method, where their fancy leads them, but their 
spirit accords so well with the unity of things that all their ideas are 
naturally consistent. Their reflections, on whatever subject and by 
whatever way they set out, arrange themselves in order by always 
returning to the same point. Their intuitions, which are not sys- 
tematic, organize themselves into a system. They are philosophers 
without having sought to be such, without having thought of .being. 
To the latter kind belonged Gabriel Tarde. That which strikes one 
at first in him is the unexpected fancy which multiplies the new view- 
points, the original and brilliant ideas. But soon the unity and depth 
of the theory reveal themselves. One grand conception underlies the 
whole construction and imparts to it its direction." 

Without apparent organization the work of The Foster School 
goes on. When we attempt to summarize we find so many things 
being done we hesitate to list them because a skeptical public will 
accuse us of the motive of self-advertisement or as doing the work 
in order that political preferment may accrue to ourselves. ^ However, 
we are satisfied that one great incumbrance of the American school 
is its historical system, and that the school of tomorrow will be the 
one that will do the common-sense thing for the pupil of tomorrow. 

Women s Department 



the: woman's department of the foster school. 

The rules covering the general case and conduct of women in the 
jail will be found in Chapter II. We here address ourselves to the 
educational feature. The women's part of the chapel is used as a 
schoolroom for women. As has been heretofore stated, it is the rule 
to give each pupil whatever her state of education seems to require. 
It is difficult to have everyone take the same course because no two 
have the same qualifications or have reached the same stage of ad- 
vancement. It is possible to have them all working in the same room, 
however, and under the same teachers at the same time. 

There are seldom more than three white women in jail at once, and 
generally they like to assist in the teaching, so that it has not been at 
all embarrassing to anyone to have the colored and white women to- 
gether in school. They, however, occupy different parts of the room 
and have their own work to do. There have never been more than 
fifteen in all at one time in the school for women, and as yet we have 
encountered no obstacle in this department. 

For those who cannot read or write we have found the material 
sent out by Mrs. Cora Wilson Stewart, founder of the Moonlight 
School, of great help. By means of the "tracing system" the pupil 
learns the forms of letters and how to put them together in words. 
We have found, however, that copy books are of great assistance. In 
the early days of the women's school there was a pupil, afterwards a 
teacher, who could write very well, and her handwriting was taught 
to the first pupils and has been "handed down" from class to class. 

As has been told in our statement of the general principles of 
The Foster School, special stress is put upon the creation of the power 
to think logically. Believing that the "trouble" has been mainly with 
the thinking faculties, every attempt of the school must embrace the 
attempt to think rationally. This is thoroughly impressed upon every 
teacher. When any pupil makes a mistake or does not know what 
to do they are told to "stop," "go slow," "think it out," "what comes 

It is difficult to arrange a curriculum for a whole year for this 
department. First, because there are very few who would be here 
that long. Second, the teacher's ability to give a course must be con- 
sidered, and every teacher has a line in which she can best work, so 
we do not plan our course that far ahead. I here append the work 
for July, 1916 : 


The school will be carried on daily. The hours will be arranged 
by the Matron, Assistant Matron and teachers as best suits their con- 
venience. The time will be divided between sewing and study, as the 
matrons and teachers think best. The matrons and teachers have 
authority to assign any task or call anyone to assist in the work of the 

42 The Foster School 

Lesson I. — Write a complete statement about your life ; when and 
where born, where and how long you went to school, what you studied, 
what you did when you went to school, when and where you have 

Lesson II. — The greatest event in my life. When? Where? 
What surroundings? Why? How? How great? Results. 

Lesson III. — Write a letter to Mrs. O'Daniel or Mrs. Gazzalo, pre- 
tending that it is one year after you leave here. Put yourself in a 
good position and tell her if you are happy and doing well in your 

Lesson IV. — Letters to members of your family. 

Lessons V ., VI., VII. — Recipe or directions for cooking different 
articles of food. 

Lesson VIII. — Directions for cleaning a room. 

Lesson IX. — Figure in addition, subtraction, multiplication, di- 

Lesson X. — Figure the cost of a full outfit of clothing 

Lesson XI. — Make out a good menu and figure the cost so as to 
fit a family of three or four on an income of about $60 per month. 

Lesson XII. — Do the same thing in Lesson XI. for three meals 
per day. 

Lesson XIII. — Make out a program for regular daily life when 
you will have left this place. 

Lesson XIV. — Write a long list of mottoes. 

Lesson XV. — State fully what and how I should do to get a job. 

It will be seen from these lessons that we have tried to cause the 
"pupil" to think over their life and get back to the first school days. 
In Lesson II. we think that, by causing the "pupil" to think over "the 
greatest event in his life," his mind will be taken back to its con- 
structive period and perhaps a longing for those days will be created. 
They will think things over. They will see themselves as they were 
in their more palmy days; they will see themselves as they are now. 
I have seen them go through these psychological stages. In Lesson 
III. they begin the dream of a better job when "their time is up," and 
so on through the whole summer course it seems best that some lesf- 
sons like these would be best for the girls who are here now and 
because we are fortunate enough to have a conscientious little woman, 
who though having made a mistake and being held here, to conduct 
the course as teacher. 

The work which we have done in domestic science is in its in- 
fancy. People ask us, "What can you do when you have them such 
a short time?" Any rule cannot be made. But some girls have 
been taught how to make a dish towel, embroider a hand towel, make 
and hemstitch a handkerchief. 

Some have been taught to patch and darn. If they do not know 
these things they must learn them. Some girls have been taught to 
take an old dress which they were wearing when they came and make 
it over so that they may make a more decent appearance when they 
#o out. Many girls have been taught how to make table mats. This, 

Women's Departme-vit~ 


as is much of their work, is done in the:~'w£reF' under': the ieadershtp- 
of the "ward boss." 

All women are taught to scrub, and some : wbpr Tir&Ve never known 
a thing about washing go out with the knowledge^, - gamed- by experi- 
ence, of "how to do a full washing." 

For those who have "some time" more extensive work is planned. 
The many things which make a home more pleasant or a room more 
attractive they are taught to make. Those who have more time to 
"do" must first make for themselves a uniform dress and a full suit, 
including underwear and other articles for a woman's wardrobe. 
They are taught to measure, cut out, baste and even run a sewing 
machine. Of course if a woman is wholly incapable the more difficult 
things are not required until she is able by a slow process to do them. 
The class meets in the serving room, and the conversation and order 
is of the highest class. They are thus shown a "higher side" of life 
than they had previously known. The Matron or Assistant Matron 
is in constant attendance, and when occasion requires or opportunity 
presents they give such advice or instruction as will improve the moral 
condition of the women. The principal of the school has more than 
once heard the matrons instruct girls as to behavior in the presence 
of others. 

A very interesting civic lesson was one day witnessed in the 
making of the flag for The Foster School. The meaning of the 
stripes was explained and the number of the stars were counted and 
many things were recalled by those who had heard an address on 
"The Flag" given in the chapel on July 4 by Mrs. J. A. Leech, a mem- 
ber of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

No one can say that these women are not more efficient as servants 
or more capable as wives or better as women after they have had 
these experiences. We hear their resolutions and we receive their 
heartfelt thanks when they "graduate" and we receive letters when 
they have gone to work and gotten a start on the upward road, telling 
us that they are now pulling their share of the load in an honest 
way, and we are convinced that the lifeline thrown out by The Foster 
School helped to pull them ashore. y 


THE HIGH SCHOOL department. 
The law of the State permits the Judge of the Juvenile Court to 
send boys from fourteen to seventeen years of age to the jail. Under 
fourteen years they are sent to the Detention Home. Boys that are 
received at the jail are placed in the Boys' Ward. When these boys 
come a course is planned which suits their cases, as well as interests 
them. Most of these boys never went beyond the sixth grade. It is 
peculiar that the grades seem to have lost the boy at this period. If 
there are as many as three of these boys of the same grade and have 
the same time it is our plan to find a teacher for them and have them 
finish the common branches at the same time, and to begin to get them 


- . - 

' The Foster School 

-mteres£ed\ijfi some /Hii r di they may follow. For a boy who has 
completed, the grades we arrange for him a High School course. Of 
coursfc : *ttD:boy -is -ever given enough time in which to complete a full 
High School ^course. : -But such subjects are selected for him as will 
lead him to think that he would like to continue the work when his 
"time is up." This work is the same as the work of the Boys' High 
School of this city. The same text-books are used and the same 
methods of teaching are employed. At the end of each terrrv's work 
the boy takes the same examination that is given the boys at the Boys' 
High School, and if the boy enters the Boys' High School afterwards 
he is to receive credit for his work done in the High School at the 
jail. Arrangements to this effect have been made with Prof. O. L. 
Reid, Superintendent of City Schools. The teachers for this depart- 
ment have been selected from the strong, manly pupils of the Boys' 
High School. 

Our idea is to put the boy in the environment which will bring to 
him again the idea and inspiration which a High School is supposed 
to bring. Then, in having the boy teachers we have noticed that the 
work seems to be more effective because it comes as from boy to boy. 
Besides the "boy faculty" members worked themselves into the 
"social viewpoint." It is counted quite an honor among the boys of 
the civics and other classes of the Boys' High School to be invited 
to teach in The Foster School. These fellows will ere long be citi- 
zens and already they have ideas about civic and social questions 
which would do credit to the most intelligent of our citizens. I am 
sure the effect upon the boy in jail has been a most profitable one. 
As he saw the "faculty boys" come and go he longed to be free as 
they were free. One day not long ago he said to one of them, "When 
I get out of here I am going to go straight." 

In thus correlating The Foster School and the Boys' High School 
we have followed our belief that all the institutions of a city have a 
relation to one another. I have had more than one pupil in The 
Foster School who had been my pupil in the High School. It may be 
that my civic teaching there did not do what it should have done for 
those boys. I am sure that the question of crime is one for the 
schools to know more about, and I have concluded that much of the 
method in our modern school government is wrong. The idea that 
some boys have that a teacher is a "natural enemy" is very much akin 
to the idea that the boys in jail have that a policeman or a judge is 
a "natural enemy." 

We have borrowed much of our system of public school govern- 
ment from European nations, where school systems are instituted for 
the purpose of making "brave and obedient subjects," not intelligent 
and law-abiding citizens. If the American democracy is a success — 
and I believe it is — then our system of school government should find 
its essentials in the philosophy and methods of American ideals and 
American government. 

Department for Colored Men 45 



The same attention and opportunities are given the colored men 
that are accorded the whites. There are many young fellows who 
learn to fire and take care of boilers as well as look after, oil and 
watch an engine and dynamos under the direction of the chief 
engineer, Mr. Thomas Gilchriest. Not long since a former inmate of 
the jail informed us that he now has charge of a set of boilers and 
engine and that all the training he ever had was received in the Jef- 
ferson County jail while an inmate. There are many other things 
which these boys have opportunity to learn. Mr. Fred Montfort has 
trained many a colored boy in all the work necessary to make a good 
man in charge of a building. The sanitarian explains the use of all 
disinfectants and not only works the men in keeping the jail clean, 
but tries to get them to take an interest in their work and learn every- 
thing in the science of sanitation. Some of these men make good 
janitors for factories and office buildings. 

So far it has been seen fit to divide all negroes who want to go 
to school into two classes. Class B is made up of those who cannot 
read or write. These boys are first given the Moonlight School letter 
forms, which they trace until they have learned to make all the let- 
ters, then they are taught to join letters into words. They take a 
great deal of interest in learning to write their names. They are 
taught to read the street signs, and if they should happen to need to 
read much in whatever work they do, they are taught that. One boy 
who was a waiter could not read or write. He was taught to write 
and read what might be seen on a bill of fare. He was taught to spell 
the names of vegetables, meats, and in fact he had quite a working 
vocabulary when he "graduated." He was also taught to figure up 
the cost of a meal. I have forgotten this fellow's name, but he has 
since served me at a local hotel and he figured my bill correctly. He 
is certainly now more efficient than he was before he "attended" The 
Foster School, and is therefore less likely to commit another crime. 
He has not as yet "returned" to The Foster School. 

In Class A we place all those fellows who went to school as far 
as the fifth grade. And I might say here is where most of "Mr. 
Foster's negroes" seem to have stopped their education. We have 
had only a few who cared to take advantage of the opportunity of 
school. Our plan is to make them more proficient in whatever trade 
they follow. Some have been taught about figuring the cost of plas- 
tering and of draying. They are all taught to figure out the cost of 
living and about how to make out a living on whatever wages they 
make when at work. 

Their work in "English^" has been letter-writing and telling a 
straight, plain, logical story. The teachers have been cautioned to train 
them always to stick to exact truth, showing them that there is no 
defense they can give in the Police Court more valuable than the truth. 
We have attempted some history with them, but we have limited it to 


The Foster School 

the simple story of the lives of some of our great men. As a general 
thing Class "A" of the negroes is a difficult proposition because con- 
tinued interest is hard to get, but we are convinced that some^of them 
make progress. 



As in the other departments the principles of individualization, 
self-help and small classes prevail in this department. Class "A" con- 
sists of all men who have had a High School or College education 
or a special training in some profession. From this class our teachers 
are generally taken. Whatever line of work these men have hitherto 
followed they are allowed to continue. They do their studying on 
the tier and whatever suggestions occur to the Principal are given. 
Books and magazines for special study are provided from the Public 
Library, and much valuable material has been promiscuously given 
by the public. 

In Class "B" we place those who rank from the fourth to eighth 
grades of the common branches. Most of these fellows seem to quit 
school about the time they could read, write and figure. The general 
program which this class is following at present is as follows : 

On Monday at 9 a. m. the class comes to the schoolroom for the 
study hour. They recite from 1 to 2 p. m. Arithmetic is the subject 
for the day, and after a review of the fundamentals, each pupil is 
drilled in whatever part of arithmetic he may be found to 
be deficient or in whatever he may need to figure when he is at his 
work outside. 

Some general exercises have been found to be both interesting 
and profitable. One which I remember to have assigned was the 
drawing of plans for a three-room house, figuring the cost of material, 
of hauling, of labor and of furnishing. An exercise for a fellow who 
had worked as assistant in a blacksmith shop was to plan for himself 
a shop and figure the cost of "setting himself up in business." 

Another was that for a young farmer to figure out how he could 
start out as a renter and in a period of five years have his living for 
himself and family and pay for a small piece of ground. These 
exercises took several days, but the fellows learned the arithmetic 
connected therewith, and I am sure their thoughts were turned to 
constructive channels. I heard some interesting discussions among 
them when they had returned to their tier about the cost of material 
for house building in different places where they had been. 

On Tuesday the general subject of English is taught by Prof. 
U. C. Morrow of the Faculty of The Boys' High School. The idea 
of logical thinking is meant to be the keynote of every lesson. Forms 
of composition and the terminology of rhetoric are hot at all empha- 
sized. Much cannot be done toward the appreciation of good litera- 
ture in this class, either, but that phase has not been neglected. We 
have recently had a conference with the Librarian of the Louisville 
Free Public Library, and have arranged that only those books which 

Men's Department 


present some constructive or historical or scientific thought shall 
be sent to the jail. We have observed that hction, generally sensa- 
tional, is preferred by the boys here, but we think that should not 
fall into their hands, and therefore we have requested the Librarian 
to send other types of literature. The simplest forms of narration, 
description and argumentation are used. With logical thinking is 
also coupled the importance of exactness and the "truth" in all 
English work. The boys are shown that an exact statement of the 
truth is the most effective thing to impress anyone, even judge or jury. 
The class is encouraged to argue and many interesting debates occur 
in this class. A program given entirely by the school is planned for 
the close of this term of school. 

On Wednesday comes the study of geography. The method is 
to read and study during the study hour under the leadership of the 
teacher. The recitation follows in the afternoon hour. In nearly 
every class we have formed, fellows who have seen many parts of 
the world are able and anxious to tell what they have seen. They 
are asked to tell of trips and describe geographical formations. One 
boy gave in our presence a very realistic description of Pike's Peak 
and the Royal Gorge. Having seen these places myself I was glad 
to hear such good description from him. The text book is the same 
as that which is used in the grades of the city schools. At the close 
of each lesson all the difficult words are pronounced by the teacher 
and spelled by the class. The matter of spelling is given attention in 
the other studies also. Somewhere and somehow "spelling" in 
schools of the land has "gone wrong." Many boys, even in High 
School, cannot spell the most common words. The Foster School 
means to "pound away" on the old-fashioned way of spelling. 

In geography we study the occupations of different parts of the 
country and some fellows go afterwards where they may find work 
that suits their ability. 

On Thursday the subject of History is studied by the teacher 
and class. The intention is to create a pride in and a patriotism for 
the country, at the same time acquiring information as to the history 
of the nation and its policies from time to time. Especial emphasis 
is placed on all parts leading to the current questions of the day. 
The teacher emphasizes all things which tend to prepare for better 
citizenship. Emphasis is placed especially upon certain men and 
what they have stood for in the Nation's history. 

On Friday the study of civics, based upon a course worked out 
in the Boys' High School of the city, is made, under the general 
leadership of the inmate teacher and the Principal of the Foster 
School. The purpose of this course is to show the pupil his rights 
and duties toward all the groups of society of which he is a part. 
Everything that can be used to lead the pupil into a higher idea of 
citizenship is employed. We have also planned a course in physiology. 
This we think is a proper subject for study by men in this institution. 
"Know thyself" was the statement of one ancient philosopher. We 
believe that one of the first steps to the foundation of human char- 
acter is a knowledge of the physical nature of man. If a man knows 


The Foster School 

the parts, structure and uses of the human body he is more apt to 
appreciate and use that body correctly. Generally there is some fellow 
who has had at least a part of a course in Medical College, and these 
fellows can handle the subject well. It is also planned that the jail 
physician and his assistant advise as to what the work in physiology 
should be, especially along the line of prevention and care of diseases. 

In Class "C" all those who cannot read, write, spell or figure are 
placed. They recite from 10 to 11 a. m. and 2 to 3 p. m. The 
teacher uses his judgment as to changes in subject from day to day. 
He begins with writing and spelling and advances in reading and 
figuring as the ability of pupils warrants. 

Of some of the industrial work we have already spoken. At 
present there is a most excellent cabinet maker and carpenter here 
who has not only done much valuable work for the institution, but 
has taught two other boys much about his trade. Two men have 
recently learned to be painters, and when they go out they will have 
a good trade. Something they did not have when they "came." 

From time to time these little things occur to us. Just by way 
of illustration and to show that in any jail the same things may be 
worked out that are being done in the Foster School, we give in 
detail the story of our shoe repairing department. This spring I 
bought a pair of sandals for each of my little boys. These sandals 
cost 80 cents a pair. In about a week the heels and soles were out 
and one pair was taken to the shoe hospital, where heels and soles 
were sewed on costing 90 cents. This put me to thinking, and I 
wondered if every poor family had the same proposition to meet. 
I went to the ten cent store and found what a repair outfit would 
cost. The next time I came to jail I asked Mr. Foster for a dollar, 
which he gave without question, and I proceeded to fit up our new 
department. I purchased a standard, a last, two boxes of tacks, a 
pair of pliers and a tack hammer, all for 45 cents. I then went to 
a leather store and purchased enough leather for five pairs of soles 
for 44 cents. I then asked our carpenter to fix up a box of the 
proper size with a lid and legs. The whole outfit cost 89 cents. I 
then went among the men hunting for an experienced shoemaker. 
I found two. I appointed one of these fellows to the "faculty" and 
showed him his outfit, told him what it cost and then instructed him 
that he must take one pupil at a time and show him how to repair 
his own shoes, told him to be sure to show each fellow about the 
cost of the outfit and that the "kit" for the tools can also be used 
for a kitchen stool. Every poor man who has a family should equip 
himself with this kind of an outfit. Next winter we plan that if a 
man comes to jail who has a family of little children that the shoes 
of these little children shall be brought to jail and that the father 
shall be taught to repair them when they need repairing. 

The "professor" takes pride in his work and has several appli- 
cations from men who want to learn to "fix their shoes." 

Mr. Foster says that this work is only in its infancy and that 
everything that can be done to teach a man a useful and honorable 
little "trick" will be done. 

Men's Department 



5 l*^f 




lr..,ii*ik.f.i*;i- i ^i»M«iiijii 







Left cut is a secretary m'ade entirely of the Saturday Evening Post, wrapping 
thread and shellac. ,,,„,, n - , 

Right cut is an open-shelf library ease winch will hold <•» hooks, 2o on each 
shelf. ' This is also made from Saturday Evening Post, which all the hoys read. 
The maker George "Post," was an inmate and a fine fellow. He taught his trick 
to two other hoys, who in turn are handing it down to others. Another Foster idea. 

It is not supposed that any county will equip a jail with shops 
as the penitentiaries are equipped. This would not be wise. The 
proper thing for the short-term jail prisoner is to teach him to "pick 
up" little ideas where he can better himself and save his time and 
his money. We could go on telling about what has been done in this 
place in these three years, but we have desired only to set forth the 
principles and suggest something about the methods of the Foster 
idea which we hope others may develop further. 


now the: foster school IS ORGANIZED. 

We are of the belief that many of our American institutions are 
top-heavy with organization. In The Foster School there is little 
appearance of organization or system. 

We think that the school should be under the jurisdiction of the 
lailer and not under the authority of the city schools. It is true 
that we get what our schools, churches and the social order has failed 
upon. We think, therefore, that a different philosophy and system" 
will be more effective as the final resort. 


The Foster School 

A jail school must be worked in with the other general purposes, 
rules and methods of the institution. If we look for organization 
in The Foster School we find that the Jailer is the Superintendent, 
having been authorized by law and elected by the people to the 
position. The Superintendent accepted the services of the author 
of these lines and he may be called the Principal. All plans and 
methods of the school are worked out by Superintendent and Prin- 
cipal, and the Chief Clerk and Chief Deputy are asked to suggest 
if there are any reasons why they should not be put into effect. 
These two men are acquainted with every detail of the office and the 
control of inmates, and, in fact, many valuable suggestions have come . 
from them, and they are really the executive officers of the school. 
The Chief Clerk prepares all bulletins, notices and programs, and the 
Chief Deputy sees that they are carried out. The Chief Deputy 
appoints a guard to see that pupils get to school. 

Mr. Foster and Mr. Ragsdale talking over plans and methods for ;;he Foster School. 
Mr. McCullom, chief clerk, in background. 

The Principal has full freedom of the jail at all times. He talks 
over all the work with each teacher, showing him or her the purposes, 
plans and methods which seem best to employ. The teachers are 
made familiar with the principles upon which we work, but are 
encouraged to use as much originality as possible and no opportunity 
to encourage and stimulate the individuality of a teacher is over- 

Organization 51 

looked. The expenses of the school have thus far been little and 
have been defrayed by the founder out of his private funds. 

I take this opportunity to state that strict care is taken with 
prisoners where such is required and because Mr. Foster has done 
and is doing these things no one must think that he is remiss of duty 
when strictness and precaution is called for. 



The question of teachers was at first a difficult one in The Foster 
School. We had some misgivings about having the inmates teach 
and we were not fortunate at first in volunteer teachers from outside. 
One volunteer teacher, a well-intentioned social worker and society 
woman, came for a few days, but somehow the pupils did not "take 
to her" very well. We do not in the least discourage outside help, 
but we feel that having been on the ground now more than two years 
that our advice as to material and method has a value. The good 
lady felt that her experience as a Latin teacher eminently fitted her 
to teach here. Of course there are differences of opinion "even in 
the best of families." 

We have been fortunate in having the assistance of another mem- 
ber of the High School Faculty, who tells us that he is now "getting 
onto the job." In selecting the boys from the Boys' High School for 
teachers we sought those who were earnest, serious and could make 
themselves at home in whatever surroundings they found themselves. 
These fellows were not "chicken-hearted," but have in them the "stuff" 
of which real men are made. 

In selecting the teachers from among the inmates we have made 
two mistakes out of the twelve selections from inmates. The first 
one was a college graduate. There was no question as to his learning, 
but he insisted on too much of technicality in his work. To illustrate, 
he put in the time in English in parsing words and diagraming 
sentences instead of drilling his class in clear thinking and plain 
speaking. Then he lost the confidence of the boys by borrowing 
money and not paying it back. He is gone now, but we have heard 
that he is again in "jail" in another city. 

Our other failure disregarded advice and his class got away from 
him. He was cautioned that "talking of self" was his greatest 
liability. He was told that it was best to keep himself and his affairs 
in the background. His disparaging remarks about his wife caused 
us to dispense with his services as teacher. We had selected him 
because he had a wide experience, had attended college and had a 
command of words that would help him to attract attention anywhere, 
but he failed to hold the confidence of his classes, and just as High 
School boys are able to tell a genuine teacher, so these boys here 
cannot be fooled either. 

Our best teachers are those serious, still, unassuming fellows who 
have a period of six months or more and who go through most of 
the work, which is review for them, once as pupils, and whom we 

52 The Foster School 

then appoint as teacher. One such was P. J. This hoy made good 
as a teacher. He planned and studied his lessons beforehand and 
never failed to interest his class. He never had to rebuke anyone. 
They seemed to work for him and took delight in pleasing him. The 
best result seemed to be upon P. J. himself. He got the idea he was 
good for something. He began to think and talk about his wife and 
little girl, and about a month before his time was up he asked the 
privilege of learning the painter's trade, which was given, and under 
the instruction of the sanitarian he was given enough experience to 
qualify him. He had been an electrician and he "brushed up" on 
that trade also, so as to be able to take whatever position he might 
obtain in either trade. What teaching did for P. J. it will do for 
others. Responsibility will many times make a man when nothing 
else will, and we plan to have small classes, employing as many teach- 
ers as we can, in order that teaching may help to develop them. 

One of the best teachers we have found was Daisy Houston, 
colored. Notwithstanding the charge against her, she was a woman 
with a strong character. She did not seek any favor and always knew 
her place. Her handwriting was as good as any teacher of penman- 
ship need to have. She was neat in her appearance. She was quiet 
and modest. She was kind and even diplomatic in handling her 
"pupils," and she won their respect and confidence. She soon caught 
the spirit of The Foster School and tried in every way to work out 
the principles and follow the methods. She controlled the girls on 
the ward during the study hours and the class hour seemed to be 
a time to which they looked with pleasure. 

When Daisy went away there was a feeling of sorrow not only 
on the part of the pupils, but the teachers and officials as well. 
She had the good wishes of everyone when she was taken to Frank- 
fort. I visited her at the Reformatory some weeks later. The 
Matron told me she was an. ideal prisoner and had begun a school 
for colored women at that institution. She will be of valuable service 
to the State, and she will also be an inspiration to those with whom 
she is associated. 

Another woman whom we have found to be a good teacher is 
Lillian Gardner. This little woman was very unhappy and in a most 
unsteady frame of mind during the first month of her incarceration. 
But her qualities were soon learned by the matrons and she was 
given responsibilities which she carried well. She became interested 
in the school and I asked her if she would like to teach. This seemed 
to "lift a load*' from her mind and soon she had planned a course in 
sewing for the girls, and at once each girl in jail was at work on 
some piece of wearing apparel or some useful thing for the house. 
I planned a course of study for her to give to the class and she is 
getting some fine work in writing and figuring from the colored 
as well as white girls. She is even teaching one of the matrons the 
art of making a dress. She is now in a happy frame of mind and 
her employment dispels the gloom. She is doing a valuable service 
here and her mind is beginning to turn upon what she hopes to do for 
her children when she leaves here. 

Teachers 53 

We could speak of other teachers but space prevents. Sometimes 
we fail with our teachers, as we have pointed out, but 80 per cent, of 
them succeed, and we think that warrants the idea of having them 
do the work, although we will not be wedded to any rule. 

Note — Since the above was written Mr. Foster plans to have every 
"tier boss" a teacher and each man selected shall have some educational 
qualifications so that he may be able to direct each person in some 
school work which may do him good when his "time is up." 



Mention has already been made of several of the "pupils" of The 
Foster School, and it might be interesting to speak of the others. 
I. B. C, known as "Mamma D," has been a notorious character. 
She had been arrested and had ridden in one of the patrol wagons 
so often that the wagon was named "Mamma D" in her honor. She 
peddled morphine to the negro houses of prostitution and was in 
every way a low character. The last time she was brought here she 
was in an ugly frame of mind and all persuasion and every form 
of discipline availed nothing. She fought the guards and stayed 
in a violent passion until the last resort had to be taken. She was 
sent to the "hole" to "think things over." After about four hours 
she was asked if she would behave if she was brought out. She 
went on another tirade and was allowed to continue to "think things 
over." At the end of ten hours she called for the Jailer and said : 
"Boss, if you will take me out of here I will do whatever you want 
me to do." She was brought up and with about ten days of quiet 
and regular hours, good food and daily baths, she began to act like 
a real human being. She was allowed to go along with the other 
girls to school. I noticed that she began to watch them after a few 
days and one day I said to her: "Let me see you write your name." 
She replied : "I never done that in all my days, I makes my mark." 
I wrote her name and showed it to her and then persuaded her to 
try to copy it. After several days she was able to make a good 
imitation of the original. After a week I noticed that she seemed 
to sit up straighter and had a more animated look on her face. She 
had begun to take a little more pride in her clothes, such as they 
were. The Matrons remarked of the care she began to take in the 
seeing that the jail was scrubbed so clean. She seemed to begin 
to take a pride in the institution. I will not forget a scene on the day 
the luncheon for social workers was given in the jail. The tables 
were being prepared by the inmates and I. B. C. and another girl 
had been told to take charge of the "silver." She was considerably 
"dolled up" on this day, and while proudly placing the silver she 
was heard to say to her partner: "I'se de boss of de knives, you'se 
de boss of the forks, and you see dat big man over dere, well, he's 
Mr. Foster, he's de big boss." 

The day before I. B. C. was taken to Frankfort she called for 
Mr. Foster and in her appeal to be allowed to stay here she said: 

54 The Foster School 

"Oh, Mr. Foster, don't let them take me away, you saw me when 
I came, look at me now, and I can write my name. I want to stay 
and go to school." As she stepped out of jail next day she read the 
street signs and spelled out the names of the business places near. 
Although she must be 50 years of age she had become a child again. 
"L. B." was another colored pupil. She never knew a single 
letter of the alphabet. She was a young woman, not gone far enough 
down to be classed among the regular "guests" at the jail. She did 
not appear to have alert mental ability. But she became so much 
interested in her school work that she spent all her time at it except 
when doing her cleaning work on the ward. "Daisy" was her teacher, 
and to her the credit is due for what Lizzie Bradley accomplished. ( At 
our commencement she received the medal for mental and moral 
progress, given by Mr. Foster to the woman who had made the most 
progress this year. Mr. Foster received these letters from her: 

No. 1. 

Louisville, Ky., Dec. 14, 1915. 
Mr. Chas. C. Foster, 

Louisville, Ky. 
Dear Sir : 

I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know how 
I am getting along in school. You can see for yourself how I have 
improved in writing. Thanking you for all your kindness towards 
me I am your obedient servant, 

Lizzie; Bradley. 
No. 2. 
Mr. C. C. Foster, 
Kind Sir: 

As I am now about to make my departaure I thought I would 
thank you for giving me the privilege to learn tc read and write, 
which shall be so much benefit to me and never shall forget who 
was so kind to give me the optunity to learn. I also thank you for 
remembering us during hollie days. I hope you success in your 
under takings. Lizzie Bradley. 

Among the white girls "L. S." is a good example of what might 
be done by a Foster School. "L." did not know her letters. One 
day she asked Daisy to write her name for her. She, L., began by 
making copies and soon she was making all the letters. Within a 
month she had progressed enough to write a letter to her husband, 
who, when he received it, came to the jail to see if it was really 
true that she had written the letter. This woman learned how to 
be a good cleaner while here, and when her time was up she went 
away with her husband with every appearance of being a better 

Among the men I have already spoken of a colored fellow who 
became a good engineer under Mr. Gilchriest's charge. 

Let me now tell about "E. A." He is a white boy who is a member 
of one of the famous feud families of the Virginia and Kentucky 

Pupils 55 

mountains. E. A., when the family was scattered, landed in Louis- 
ville, and after a year or so got married to a Louisville girl. His 
story is told in an English exercise entitled "The greatest event in 
my life," which we here copy: 

"Jan. 18, 1916. 

"the greatest event in my life. 
"Jan. 17 1915 I was engaged to be married and oh how happy I 
felt real good to think of getting married. Well I gos and gets mar- 
ried and undertakes to board with my mouthering law and Ah, God, 
I soon found out that that wasn't any life for a man for the reason 
why I thought so it seemed as I must do all the work. Here is what 
I had to do when I came in from my work at the place where I was, 
working studdy trying to get the money so I could live to myself and 
when I was almost run down and when my mouthering law would 
brag both water buckets and say 'I wish you would get up nights 
water so I wont halft to carry it and as soon as I would get in the 
house with my water buckets then she would ask me to get in wood 
and coal so I never did get any rest at all and so I speaks to my wife 
about all this work I was having to do and then she ask her mother 
that I shouldent have all this work when I was paying my board so 
then she thought I must for I was one of the family but I didn't think 
so and they had a big ourgiment and while I was listening I got ar- 
rested and landed in jail and I guess they are auguring yet. 

"E. A." 

E. A., it seemed, worked in a nursery. We taught him to write 
letters about trees, to make out orders for so many trees and to write 
letters as if he were trying to make a sale. He was also shown about 
what would be required to send a consignment of trees to some dis- 
tant town. We have not heard from him since he left and he has not 
been a "guest" since. 

One of the most interesting fellows to me was R. P. This fellow 
followed carpentry through the week and preached on Sunday. He 
was originally an illiterate mountain boy. In school he was not able 
to figure much except "in his head." He was drilled in making simple 
plans for small buildings and figuring costs. The first time I heard 
him in the English class I was much interested and amused. The 
subject for the day was, "Is the Moving Picture a Good Thing for 
the People?" Brother P. chose to speak on the negative. He began 
slowly, and then, "getting up steam," he rose into a religiously emo- 
tional fervor, during which he repeated his arguments the third time, 
and when his strength was gone and he had begun to see that he was 
amusing the class he "slowed down" and stopped. I had not heard 
anything like that since as a boy I used to go to the old hardshell 
Baptist church near our home in the country. Of course Brother P. 
was in earnest, and no doubt that style has yet its appeal. But we 
tried to show him how to outline his talks and impressed him with 
the idea that he must stick to his text and when he had said his sermon 
he must sit down. The last time I heard him he had caught the idea. 

56 The Foster School 

Not long ago I met him on the street and he said he was working 
every day and preaching on Sunday. 

C. H. was a fine young fellow and got into bad company and 
finally landed here. He might have kept on "sliding," but The Foster 
School threw out the line and he was pulled in. His own testimony 
in the form of a letter is the best evidence, as follows : 

" , Ohio, Feb. 28, 1916. 

"Mr. Geo. Ragsdale, 

"Louisville, Ky. 
"My Dear Sir: 

"Am in , Ohio, working for the 

people. Thought I would have more show away from Louisville 
because of my past trouble there. Am getting along O. K. and hope 
to have my wife and child with me ere long. Give the school, "Foster 
School," my regards. I praise same wherever I may be, as I for one 
was greatly helped by it, thanks to your interest. Please write me 
a line, as I surely would love to hear from you. You must excuse bad 
writing, Mr. Ragsdale, but it really seems as tho I cannot get my 
hands warm this eve. How is the school getting along? How far 
have they gotten in civics? Now please write as I am really anxious 
to hear from you. I must close now. Let me remain, 

"Respectfully, Your Ex-Pupil." 

We might go on with these cases, but some of them are so well 
known to the local public that an exact description here might be 
embarrassing to them, and we therefore refrain. Enough, however, 
has been said to show that a jail under competent and conscientious 
management becomes not only the corrective but the reformatory 
institution for the community. Even one boy or one girl pulled back 
into line is worth all the time and work, and the letter from "C. H." 
hoping to have his "wife and child" again with him to start life over 
is a happy compensation. 



Where there are together two hundred people, a large majority 
of whom are arrested for drunkenness and those addicted to the use 
of drugs, there will be need of constant medical attendance. The jail 
physician has his hours at the jail and may be called at any time to 
attend any sick prisoner. Put the ''Doctor Boy" is in constant at- 
tendance. He is always a fellow who has some time to do, is a re- 
liable fellow against whom there is no mark of discipline, intelligent 
and inclined to take an interest in people who need attention. He has 
sometimes had some medical, hospital or pharmaceutical experience. 
If he has not had it, his experience as "Doctor Boy" in the jail is a 
good preliminary training for work of that kind. If there is a sick 
man in jail he is put in the hospital ward and instructions as to medi- 
cine and proper care is given the "Doctor Boy" who is to keep close 
watch over the patient. At any hour of the day a person is likely to 

The Doctor Boy 57 

be brought in who has been cut up or beaten up in a fight. If the 
wounds are very serious the person is sent to the City Hospital, where 
there are the best facilities for caring for them. All slight cases are, 
however, attended to by the ''Doctor Boy," and the attention of the 
jail physician is called to them upon his next visit. The "Doctor Boy" 
has full charge of the jail drug store and the surgical room. Both 
are well fitted to satisfy any needs of the patients. Not long ago a 
prisoner was sent to the City Hospital for an operation for appendi- 
citis, but in a few days he was returned to the jail, where he is being 
cared for by the "Doctor Boy." The present "Doctor Boy" has a 
valuable experience, has proven himself very capable and intends to 
finish his course in the School of Pharmacy. He hopes to receive 
one year's credit for the work and training which he has had as "Doc- 
tor Boy" in The Foster School. Whatever recommendation he asks 
will be given by the Jailer and the jail physician. 

We are told many valuable things by the jail physician which the 
public ought to know. The doctor ought to write a book. He could 
throw some valuable light on cases of insanity in the courts. He can 
give some good advice on the treatment of opium and morphine fiends. 
( )ne rule of treatment for morphine fiends is not to cure them by the 
use of morphine. In one case a former Jailer had insisted that a 
certain "fiend" be given morphine so that her ravings and her noise 
might be stopped. The doctor said nothing, but proceeded to inject 
pure water into the woman's arm, and continued this treatment for 
several weeks. When the time came for the woman to be released 
she thanked the doctor for his kindness and his treatment, whereupon 
he said : "You are cured of the morphine habit ; you have had 
nothing but pure water injected into your arm by me." The woman 
was so overcome that she fell upon her knees and prayed. 

We have heard from reliable sources that she now goes among 
her friends telling them she has been cured and pleads with them 
never to use morphine. 



Regularly at 1 :30 p. m. each Sunday all prisoners, except those 
who because of sickness are not able to leave their cells and those 
whose religion prevents, are gathered into the chapel for religious 
exercises. These exercises are conducted by the chaplain. The 
people of Jefferson County have looked well to the spiritual interests 
of the prisoners and caused the law to require the appointment of a 
chaplain at a salary of $400.00 per year to conduct religious services 
once per week. The singing at these exercises is remarkable. The 
volume would not be excelled by a large audience of one thousand or 
more. There are generally some fine singers who can sing solos equal 
to a paid soloist and they are always willing to perform. There are 
many special speakers at the Sunday services and many prisoners are 
led to better thinking and living by these services. 

58 The Foster School 

The Foster School has during the past year taken opportunity to 
hold several programs which have been inspiring to all who attend. 
The next year at least one patriotic and civic program will be held 
each month. The past year the first program was on February 12 
in celebration of Lincoln's birthday. Besides the singing of patriotic 
songs, addresses suitable to the audience, such as "Lessons Learned 
from Lincoln's Life," in which was pointed how Lincoln rose from 
poverty, how he was known as "Honest Abe," how his life was a 
life of service. On Washington's birthday appropriate exercises were 
held. Washington's place in history as well as his example of man- 
hood was pointed out. On April 13th Jefferson's birthday was cele- 
brated with a program in which his place as America's greatest 
political philosopher and the truths of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence were made important. On the Fourth of July the program 
consisted of patriotic songs and an address by Mrs. James A. Leech, 
member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and prominent 
in club circles of the city. Her subject was "The Patriotism of the 
Flag." There was a special program on Flower Mission Day. Bishop 
Charles Woodcock addressed the assembly on another day. 

One of the most interesting programs was held on June 16th, 
which we called "Commencement Day." Dr. E. L. Powell made the 
chief address. Father Riley, of Shelbyville, was present and made 
a short address. The principal of the school gave a short history of 
The Foster School and told of the work done during the year. Jailer 
Foster presided and presented medals to the man and woman who 
had made the most progress in The Foster School during the year. 
1 For the summer term of school we have been fortunate in secur- 
ing the Judge of the Criminal Court to give a series of lectures on 
civics. The subject of Judge Robinson's lectures are: 

No. 1. "The Nature of Government." In this lecture the Judge 
explained the necessity and origin of government, the general structure 
of government and the relation of the individual to the government. 
No. 2. "The Nature of Criminal Law" will be his next subject. 
No. 3. Will be on "The Rights of the Accused." 
No. 4. Will be on "The Best Defense." 

In these lectures he will not go into a technical discussion of his 
subject, but will gauge his lecture to the ability of his hearers, draw- 
ing whatever lessons that will give them a better knowledge of and 
attitude toward righteous living. The prisoners will come to see that 
the officers of the law, even the judges who sentence them, are not an 
enemy but a friend. The Judge will have the opportunity of studying 
the prisoner outside of the courtroom and away from the prosecutor, 
who may be trying to make him out a bad character, and away from 
the attorney for the defense, who may be trying to make him out a 
good citizen. 

During the next year at least one civic and patriotic program will 
be held each month and more than one series of lectures will be given 
by public- spirited citizens on social and civic subjects. The main 
idea in all this is to keep constantly before the "pupils' " mind their 

The General Assembly 59 

relations and duties to society; their duty to know and respect the 
rights of others. Out of this it is hoped to give someone a higher 
vision of life than he has known and awaken the slumbering good 
that dwells even in the lowest creature of human form. 



In any well-ordered social group or unit of government there must 
be law. Every law must have a dynamic or sanction if it's to be ef- 
fective. The sanction of the law must be natural; that is, a statute 
ought not to contravene any natural law. We can say that there is 
no idea that does not have a physical or natural origin. A law should 
have the economic sanction; that is, it ought not to cost large sums 
of money in its execution. A law should have the moral sanction; 
that is, it ought to originate in the soundest morality. A law should 
have the legal sanction; that is, it should be passed in due form by 
a properly constituted legal body and be in accordance with all con- 
stitutional provision. A law should have the popular sanction; that 
is, it should meet the approval of at least the majority of the people, 
and all people should be willing to obey the law and join in its execu- 
tion. A law should have the sanction of force ; that is, there should 
be the physical strength in the government to meet the test of coer- 
cion. A law should have the sanction of fear ; that is, there should 
be such penalty attached for the disobedience of the law that the 
dread or fear of the penalty will cause all to obey the law. It is be- 
cause of this last sanction that punishment is necessary. 

In the first known law of mankind, the Code of Hamurabi, written 
in 2250 B. C, the spirit of punishment was purely that of revenge, 
"an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." The Mosaic Code, based 
upon the Hamurabic Code, had the same motive. In those ancient 
days if a man killed a man the duty of the dead man's relatives was 
to go at once and kill the murderer. This same spirit is yet manifest 
even now in the attitude and purpose of some prosecuting witnesses. 
Sometimes it may be seen in an over-zealous prosecutor. Generally 
this is the spirit of the mob when it takes a man from a jail and hangs 
him. It is seldom seen in the law or seldom animates the man in 
whose charge an offender is held for trial or punishment. 

A second principle upon which punishment is based is the pro- 
tection of society. One of the highest purposes of the State, as of 
the individual, is to perpetuate itself. In a democracy like that of 
America every individual becomes an integral part of the social body, 
which divides itself into units for the different purposes of govern- 
ment. Each of these units has its special government and its special 
law. We have grouped ourselves into a city for the purpose of having 
business relations, for building streets and having light and so on, 
and certain ordinances are passed that we must all respect if each of 
us is to enjoy his rights. In like manner we have the Commonwealth 
and the Nation. If one of the individuals of the governmental unit 

60 The Foster School 

takes the life of another he takes the first step toward the destruction 
of the whole group of society. He can, therefore, be said to be the 
enemy of society, and society, for self-protection, must take him in 
custody that it may not be destroyed but may be perpetual. 

A third principle or purpose of punishment is what we know in 
religious terminology as repentance. It was preached for many cen- 
turies that "repentance was necessary for remission of sins." We 
can yet hear of that doctrine. Anything that is so old must be funda- 
mental. Whatever value it may have or have had in religion, it still 
has a value as a part of the psychological process necessary to ef- 
fective punishment. Wherever a man who has disobeyed the law is 
placed he ought to have whatever surroundings or devices that will 
cause him to think over his wrong and bring him to such a realiza- 
tion of the fact that he has taken the right of another that he will 
feel that he ought to make some replacement or restitution which we 
will call a fourth principle of punishment. 

When a man's property is taken he is entitled to have it restored. 
But there may be those to whom he was obligated. He may have had 
a wife or children whom he was bound by the most solemn legal and 
natural obligations to support. Those to whom he was obligated are 
entitled to restitution or compensation, and the law of punishment 
ought to take the rights of these into consideration when it is made. 

A fifth principle upon which the law of punishment should be 
based is that of reformation. If every person who "goes wrong" 
should stay "wrong" it would not be long until no one would be right. 
If the population of a city is 2cS0,000, and 7,000 people are put in jail 
in a year, in forty years the whole population would be in jail. So- 
ciety, therefore, to preserve itself must bring its erring ones back into 
line. It must make them sustaining elements, or the burden of taking 
care of the dangerous part of society will become overwhelming. 
Therefore, the fewer criminals the greater will be the number of those 
upon whom society can rest securely. The fewer the criminal class 
the greater will be the number of productive elements of society. 
The State must therefore reform all it can in order to make itself 

The methods of punishment throughout history have been numer- 
ous, but are easily classified under four heads. In all times corporal 
punishment, by various means too numerous to mention, has been 
customary not only in the family, but in all the larger units of society. 
At one time there were one hundred and fifty-four "crimes" for which 
a person might be put to death. Now in Kentucky there are only 
three, and in some States the death penalty is not inflicted. Now no 
forms of torture are allowed and in the family life "spanking" is sel- 
dom practiced. 

Another form of punishment has been psychological device. In 
the colonial days it was a frequent thing to see a woman forced to 
stand in front of her door all day with a placard on which was written 
"SCOLD." The idea was to shame her into having a quiet, "sweet" 
disposition. Now, a boy when he is made to wear a dress considers 

Principles of Punishment 


himself severely punished. But even these methods of punishment 
are becoming more mild. 

A third method of punishment is that of detention. To detain or 
isolate one is a frequent and effective form of punishment. Its most 
telling effect is in the fact that one is deprived of his right to society ; 
that is, his- right to be with whomsoever he pleases. It also causes 
one to think over the cause for his detention. It gives him time to 
resolve and plan for better or for worse. It is mental rather than 
physical in its application, and because of this is the most effective 

A fourth method of punishment is that of "work." This is more 
or less modern. Jails and penitentiaries formerly were filled with 
people with nothing to do. Georgia, Australia and other places were 
colonies planted for the purpose of putting people in the jails of 
England to work. In all our penitentiaries and workhouses it is the 
main purpose and method of punishment, and its universal practice 
proves its value. 

In all the units of government, from the individual to the nation, 
there are some of these forms of punishment. The individual pun- 
ishes himself by self-denial and mental device. In the family we 
have all the forms in limited degrees. To our mind those things 
which cause a child to think are most effective. Corporal punishment 
too often awakens a spirit of resentment. The nature of children 
ought to be studied by parents and that corrective method adopted 
which will, with least show of punishment, correct the fault and yet 
be a sure cure. 

In the school it has always been my plan to get the boy where he 
is easily touched. In a High School of 1,600 boys there are some dif- 
ficult propositions. One of the most effective methods in "getting" 
a boy is to let him know that you are "taking his record." For the 
last ten years I have made a record of every time I have had to in 
any way discipline a boy. A boy likes to know that his record is 
clean. I believe it is his right to see that record whenever he wishes. 
It is his, not the teacher's record. He values it very highly. He does 
not want to go down on the books as having had a bad record. He 
likes to be classed with the best of the class. Then he knows if he 
ever comes to a showdown and the teacher wants to take action for 
his expulsion that the "goods are on him." Other ways of school 
punishment are so numerous and differ with every teacher that the 
subject of school punishment might fill a good-sized volume. 

In the club punishment generally consists in loss of influence, fine, 
hazing or expulsion. 

In a neighborhood or community the persons who do not con- 
form to the standards of the residents are generally treated by un- 
friendly conduct or social ostracism. 

The church reprimands, excommunicates or expels. 

The political party punishes bv loss of influence or loss of office. 

The justice of a magisterial district may assess a fine not exceed- 
ing $100.00 or fifty days in jail, or both. 

62 The Foster School 

The Judge of the Police Court may assess the same penalty as 
the Magistrate. He may place a person under a thousand-dollar bond 
for one year and the person may lessen the time to six months by 
good behavior in case he cannot give bail and has to go to jail. He 
may submit the case from time to time, meanwhile keeping tab on 
the accused and causing him to report to him at stated times. 

The County Judge is also the Judge of the Juvenile Court and 
may, in cases of contributing to the delinquency of a child, impose 
a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100.00) and fifty days 
in the jail or the workhouse. 

The Judge of the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court, on behalf 
of the Commonwealth, may sentence a person to the electric chair or 
life imprisonment. He may assess a fine or give him a jail sentence. 

The United States Court may try cases of criminal nature under 
the Federal law and may assess fines and impose penitentiary 

It is evident that the legal units of society have less latitude in the 
variety of punishment than those units of society which are the crea- 
tion of custom. For the judge there is only fine, imprisonment and 
death. While the social units of society cannot impose severe penal- 
ties, the penalty generally suits the case. Boys find natural and ef- 
fective ways of discipline among themselves. Leave a case to them 
and they will not go wrong in settling it. They will generally suit 
the punishment to the case. We have previously said that each per- 
son is different from every other person. What will reach one person 
will not reach another. Even in the same family, children are found 
who are very unlike, and a way of handling one child will do no good 
with another. So with adults. A fine of $19.00 may be sufficient to 
keep one man from committing a wrong, but upon another it may 
have no effect whatever. What is the effect of a fine, anyway? It 
may be said the expenses of the courts must be paid, and that is true. 
The fines from the City Court of Louisville do pay all the expenses 
of the court and its officials. But what does it do for the family of 
the man who pays the fine or for his creditors? And for most per- 
sons it is not a sufficient reminder to act as a deterrent. While a 
fine answers to the principle that a man must restore to society the 
cost his crime has inflicted upon it, there is nothing in a fine that 
causes him to think it over and determine to do better except the fear 
of having to pay another fine. What a man appreciates most, he is 
most zealous in caring for, and if a punishment in any way affects 
this most appreciated object he is most likely not to commit an act 
which will take it away. Therefore, there ought to be given to a 
judge greater latitude in fixing a penalty so that the penalty will suit 
the case and prevent the individual from repeating the act. 

In a long-term penitentiary sentence the principle of protection 
to society is the main idea. Reformation is not a mere question of 
time. It is a problem of psychology. Many times a man has reformed 
long before his time is up. If he had a chance to begin life over in 


Principles of Punishment 


Upper left cut is a part of the scaffold on which several people were hanged in 
the Jefferson County Jail in former days. The noose was used in only one hanging. 
Upper right cut a replica of the electric chair. 
Lower cut Mr. Foster's idea of what to do with the Short Term Jail Prisoner. 

64 The Foster School 

his normal surroundings he would make good. But, having years to 
do, he loses hold on resolution and comes out lost to the world. 

The death sentence was formerly based upon revenge ; now it is 
given only that society may be protected, and that is its only justifica- 
tion. But the long-term sentence and the death penalty are methods 
of the penitentiary. 

What are, therefore, the principles and methods to be employed 
by the city and State in punishment of those who are in trouble for 
the first time or those who are yet young in years and new in crime? 
It seems to us that restoration to one's normal place in society is the 
purpose to be regarded, and that a place of detention, as a jail, where 
all psychological devices can be freely used in order that repentance, 
restitution and reformation may follow. 

While the jail has always been neglected, it must and will become 
the reclamation institution for those for whom there is yet hope. And 
this can best be done by working on the mind of the prisoner. It is a 
psychological process and will be solved by the psychologist. Not 
necessarily the theoretical psychologist, but the common-sense student 
of human nature, who knows the laws by which the mind operates 
and who can use calm judgment, unaffected by prejudice or influence. 
It is in this direction that the work of Mr. Foster in the Jefferson 
County Jail is tending, it is yet in its infancy, but enough has been 
done to warrant the belief that a valuable contribution to sociological 
thought will be given when a completer survey has been made after 
a few more years of work. 



We have tried to make a clear, concise statement of what has been 
and is being done by The Foster School, and now beg to submit some 

First — That a jail should be the corrective and curative institution 
for the community. It is true that the public has an idea that a jail 
is merely a place where people are locked up and fed on bread and 
water. People think that only those of the "submerged tenth" are 
brought to jail and that there is no use to try to do anything that 
might lead them back into the line of duty as good citizens. They 
say, "let them go to the penitentiary and there they will be reformed. " 

It is our contention that the jail is the place where the attempt 
should be made. It is here that the "novice" in crime first lands after 
his arrest. It is here that he first thinks it over. It is here that he 
goes through a psychological reaction. It is at this time that he is 
most affected by abuse or by kind words and friendly advice. It is 
here that he has the chance to turn from crime before he has become 
calloused to it or insensible to the appeal of honor. It is here that he 
may reverse himself before all the constructive plans and ambitions 
of youth and health are forgotten. It is here that he may begin a new 
page before his record is blurred or the stigma of the penitentiary 
fastened upon him. 

Conclusions 65 

Second — In connection with every jail there should he a farm 
where the man or woman who has become an habitual drunkard could 
be taken and given a normal life for a year or until cured of drink. 
More than 85% of all persons who are lodged in jail are under the 
influence of strong drink. When a man or woman comes to jail a 
second time they ought to be sent away where they can be cured. We 
recognize the principle of personal liberty, but we also recognize 
another and greater principle, which is, "that the world demands of 
every individual the highest good of which he is capable." Our 
fellow-men have the right and do expect more from some of us than 
of others. But everyone can give the "widow's mite." Society can- 
not much longer allow a man to put himself where he becomes inef- 
ficient and finally a burden. Many of these people would be con- 
structive elements in the social structure if placed for awhile under 
natural conditions and in an environment removed from the haunts 
of vice. 

Third — The Jefferson County Jail should have a lot in connection 
with it in order that the inmates may have a breath of air and a ray 
of sunshine that does not come through the bars. I have in these two 
years seen hundreds of people come into this jail and I cannot now 
recall one single erect, proud, stalwart-looking person. When a fel- 
low is arrested there is something that soon gives him the jail 
"stoop." One of the greatest needs of the person in jail is exercise. 
It is true that here they have the opportunity to take exercise on the 
walk, but few do it. A drill lot would be the most valuable addition 
to the jail. It would be in exact keeping with the Foster idea. To 
put these fellows who have become physically "crooked" through a 
manual of exercise every day and straighten them up physically 
would go a long ways toward straightening them up mentally and 
morally. Since the military drill has been instituted in the Boys' 
High School there has been a very noticeable result in the bearing 
and behavior of the boys who have taken advantage of it. Let us not 
forget that the boys in jail are only men in physique with the minds 
of boys, and that what will do a boy good one place will do him good 
in another place. 

In line with Mr. Foster's practical ideas is that of an exercise 
roof. The roof of the cell-house is about 80 feet by 140 feet and 
could with a small expense be fitted up as a place where the inmates 
could be taken for open air and sunshine exercise. In the new court 
house and jail at Cincinnati four such places are being constructed. 
This might take the place of the drill lot mentioned above. This is 
the opportunity for some person of means to do a lasting good to the 
community and to help many young men to reclaim themselves. God's 
sunshine should be denied to no one, not even the most despicable. 

Fourth — For every jail where there are as many as fifty persons 
there ought to be a person whose duty it is to study every mental 
phase of the prisoner's life. A psychopathic expert is coming to be 
a recognized necessity in all institutions which have to do with the 
defective or the delinquent. In some States psychopathic institutions 

66 The Foster Sthool 

are being founded for the study of the criminal class. In a jail there 
is the greatest opportunity to render the most valuable service to 
society in this direction. We have before stated that the same pun- 
ishment does not meet the needs in any two cases. Such a person 
could be of assistance to a judge in fixing punishment. He could be 
of service to the jailer in prescribing work or study for a prisoner. 
I have in mind a case in this institution where a little woman 
had in a thoughtless moment committed a crime for which she was 
about to be sentenced to the penitentiary. Her mental type and condi- 
tion was noticed by one of the officials and the matter was thought 
over and it was finally decided to ask three very well-known and 
capable women to interest themselves in the case, which they did, with 
the result she was given a jail sentence, even over the protest of the 
prosecuting witness, who, animated by vengeance, wanted her sent to 
the penitentiary. She has given every evidence of repentance for her 
crime, has become one of the best teachers The Foster School has 
had, and is doing good to a score of women here every day. If she 
had been sent to the penitentiary she would have become hardened 
to the thought of crime and lost to society forever. A psychopathic 
expert could save many a person like this from further crime. This 
is a field of study and an opportunity for service which will in the 
future develop into a profession ranking second to none in sociological 

Fifth — There ought to be someone or some organization who will 
take up the cause of men when they leave the jail. The Howard As- 
sociation has done great good for the men of the penitentiaries. 
There is an association in Cleveland composed of the men who have 
been in prison which has for its purpose helping a fellow to his feet 
by giving him lodging until he has secured a place to work. This 
would be the best method, but it is difficult to get a nucleus on which 
to start. Of all the scenes of jail life this is one of the most interest- 
ing and sometimes the most pathetic. Not long ago a fellow was let 
out at night and in a short while returned because he could not find 
his way home. Another fellow's family had moved and he could not 
find them. Some go out and the same day go to work. But the sad- 
dest thing is to see a man who, after having served a long sentence, 
step through the gate and down the steps, stop, look in each direction 
and go slowly of! to the old haunts of vice and crime. If we could 
have another picture, as he steps upon the street, he gives a look to 
the west, down Green Street, where has been the haunts of lust and 
fallen manhood, but by some inspiration it has come to be a forbidden 
haunt to him ; rather let him look to the east to the busy avenues of 
trade and activity, where he may again pick up the threads of indus- 
try and responsibilities of life, or let him look to the north to the 
beautiful statue of Jefferson and be reminded that he is again in the 
"land of the free," where he may in the strength of body, in the wis- 
dom of mind and the honesty of heart live that constructive life which 
will earn for him the proud consciousness that comes from well- 
doing and the commendation of his fellow-men. 



As has been stated in this volume, it is the belief of The Foster 
School that mental conditions have more to do with crime than any 
other conditions, and that from this standpoint most efforts to reclaim 
the wayward should proceed. In line with this idea Jailer Foster is 
considering a plan of work which will be of the nature of a Religious 
School. He believes that much can be done to inspire men and 
women to retrace their footsteps and to follow in higher plains of 
living, by a study of the human side of the great lights of sacred his- 
tory. An outline of lectures and of study is being prepared to this 
end. This plan will cover a year's work and will consist of fifty-two 
lectures. The subjects of these lectures, with possible changes, will 
be as follows: 


The Development 

of Mon- 


St. Bernard. 





The Messianic Hope. 



The Internationalization 








The Individualization 






































The Deity. 





14-24. Ten Lectures on 



The Soul. 

and Teachings 

of Jesus. 




St. Paul. 








St. Augustine. 


The Church. 


Leo the Great. 




Peter the Hermit 



It will be the purpose to set forth the general plan of Religious 
History in the first four lectures. Then will follow ten lectures on 
the great men of the Bible. The next study will be a course of ten 
lectures on the life and principles lived and taught by Jesus. Then 
will follow twenty lectures on the great men of religious history. The 
course will be concluded by eight lectures on the Great Religious Con- 
cepts. This may seem to be a heavy program, but we believe that what 
has made the world great and good and strong in the past will do so in 
the future. These subjects will be presented so that the humblest can 
understand and so that a solid foundation for character can be laid. 

68 The Foster School 

A regular Men's Bible Class is to be planned and men outside as well 
as inside of jail will be invited to attend. The rules of the class will 
provide that nothing shall interfere with the duty and responsibility 
of the Jailer. The members are to have an hour of freedom within 
the walls in which they may study the great men of ages past and 
know the thoughts that have made man a higher being. 


The time taken in working out plans to engage men's minds is well 
spent, and recently a great deal of interest has been taken in spelling 
matches. Some of the boys have become so interested that they have 
committed the spelling book to memory. Indeed "Pete Paris" is now 
the champion speller of the city. Many people of the city have become 
interested, and two matches with outside people have occurred. 


The Jailer will give a prize for the best answers to the questions 
below. Compensation by reason of success and glory accompanies 
this offer. 

(1) The only time the word Easter occurs in the Bible is in con- 
nection with a man in jail. Who was he and what about him? Indi- 
cate where this reference may be found. 

(2) Who was Moses? Did he commit a crime? Tell about his 
life and burial. 

(3) Tell something about John Bunyan. Did he do time in 
prison and what happened to him? 

(4) What is in the mind of every prisoner, especially when in 

( 5 ) Name some famous prisoners mentioned in the Bible. One 
was a victim of a "frame-up.'' Who was he and what happened to 
him ? 

The answers to the above questions were many and varied. 
Several fellows spent many hours looking up the answers from books 
in the jail library. One boy spent three days looking up his answers. 


The Key is a monthly paper which is edited and published by Mr. 
Foster for the inmates. Some very choice pieces of literature are 
found therein. This paper has become known throughout the country 
and is only another evidence of the energy of the man who makes 
good because he wants to do so. 


The story of the commencement exercises, conducted in the chapel 
on Friday afternoon, June 16, was brightly and crisply told in the 
Courier-Journal by Albert Y. Aronson, as follows: 

Foster School, one of the innovations of the Jefferson County 
Jail, now has an official but unorganized alumni. It came into being 
yesterday afternoon at the first annual commencement of the school 

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70 The Foster School 

when W. M. Cooley, Lizzie Bradley and other unnamed and less 
distinguished pupils were graduated with all the trimmings, bright 
prophecies for the future, addresses and other incidents of the closing 
of a school year. Assembled for the exercises was the entire jail 
family as it is now constituted, men prominent in the affairs of the 
city, newspaper reporters, a sociologist or two, churchmen, laymen, 
officials, musicians and photographers. 

Promptly at 3 o'clock those composing the company on the set 
programme, the visitors, the pupils and others in confinement who 
have not availed themselves of the opportunity for learning found in 
The Foster School, filed into the jail chapel, escorted by guards attired 
for the first time in trim, blue uniforms topped off with a dressy uni- 
form cap. For the occasion the chapel was decorated with flags and 
potted plants, while a neat electric sign in the center of the wall forming 
the back of the stage spelled the words: "The Foster School. " 

Charles C. Foster, Jailer, founder of the school and its superin- 
tendent, made everybody feel at home, inmates and visitors alike. The 
exercises began with a thirty-minutes instrumental and vocal concert. 
Local No. 11, of the United Trades and Labor Assembly, more easily 
identified as the Musicians' Union, had sent to the commencement 
a picked orchestra of eight pieces, and a little woman with a voice 
trained to the expression of sympathy found in popular ballads, sang 
for the prisoners again and again. The sincerity of the applause 
accorded her from both sides of the footlights running along the edge 
of the chapel platform would have been an inspiration to any artist. 
It was a holiday and gala occasion and Mr. Foster imposed no restraint 
on the impulsive and emotional natures of the pupils, permitting them 
to give full expression to their feelings of delight. 

The Rev. Dr. E. L. Powell presented medals to the two honor 
pupils, W. E. Cooley and Lizzie Bradley, "for progress in mental and 
moral uplift." Cooley, a white prisoner of earnest countenance, was 
honored for missing school but three days, doing everything that was 
asked of him in the jail without complaint and attending to his own 
business at all times, which was a good promise of future success, 
Dr. Powell said. In a few sentences uttered in a diffident manner, 
Cooley accepted the recognition of the honor, thanking everybody for 
the interest shown in his behalf. 

Lizzie Bradley, negro, who returned to the jail for the afternoon, 
left her seat beside her former classmates when her name was called, 
and while she was unable because of strong emotion to say anything, 
she gave every evidence of being fully appreciative. Lizzie was offered 
by Dr. Powell as a bright example of how it is possible to reach from 
the darkness of a jail cell, through the bars, out into the light of intel- 
ligence and release from the imprisonment of illiteracy the ideas and 
thoughts tending to build character and good citizenship. To The 
Foster School Lizzie is indebted for her ability now to read and write 
and figure through long and short division, and of the 150 pupils who 
at one time or another have been pupils in The Foster School, made 
the most rapid strides. 

First Commencement 71 

Next to the little woman who sang, applause was loudest and 
longest for Judge Harry W. Robinson. Judge Robinson was a little 
overcome by the ovation accorded him, as he did not expect it to be 
so hearty in view of the fact that practically every member of the 
audience off stage had heard him talk before in his official capacity 
as Judge of the Criminal Court, or else they would not have been 
present to hear him again yesterday afternoon. Nevertheless, they 
all voted him a good fellow for imposing upon them the compulsory 
opportunity of turning their punishment into self -betterment through 
participation in the benefits of The Foster School. Judge Robinson 
passed out some excellent advice, told of the certain punishment here 
and hereafter for wrong-doers, and offered one and all a helping hand 
"when you again breathe the air of liberty." 

The Rev. Father Riley, of Shelby ville, who dropped into the jail 
to see a prisoner, was invited to the services and took part in the exer- 
cises. He ingratiated himself with the prisoners almost immediately 
and gave them this sound advice : 

" Start every day with a prayer and end it with a prayer. Prayer 
will keep you out of trouble more surely than education, sociology 
and a special training." 

Prof. George T. Ragsdale, of the Boys' High School and principal 
of the Foster School, declared that the school solved the question of 
what to be done with the "short-term" prisoner.. He expressed regret 
that he would not be able to give up as much time to the school 
next year, but urged its continuance, a broadening of its course of 
study and the employment of a psychopathic expert who would live 
with the prisoners and determine their mental needs through personal 
contact. A short history of the school was also given by Prof. 

Mr. Foster introduced each of the speakers and in an opening talk 
explained his policy of endeavoring to aid each of his charges by 
developing the good that was in them. W. M. Bruce, jail chaplain, 
said a short prayer. Invited guests who were present in addition to 
those on the programme were the Rev. Father O'Connor, of the Cathe- 
dral ; Chief of Police H. Watson Lindsey, Chairman of the Board of 
Public Safety Edward T. Tierney and Edward Gottschalk, of the 
Board of Education. 

Father Riley conferred the first degree ever given by the school, 
that of D. J. (doctor of jails) on the Rev. Dr. E. L. Powell. 


The Foster School 


Mystery relative to love, crime and tragedy lurks within every 
prison wall. 

It has been said that some hearts grow sweet in grief ; that the 
weight of the cross does not break the strong-souled. 

When there is laughter in prison there is a sob near. Once in 
awhile the anguish a prisoner undergoes develops the art in a man 
and out of a shadow flashes the light of hope. 

Bars and walls cannot restrain thought, and a hand that has offended 
the law now and then writes down words of deep pathos. 

Within the entrance gate to the jail is a fountain intended to catch 
the prisoner's glance to cheer him in his despair. Its purpose is to 
impart the blessedness of purity. That this fountain tuned the emo- 
tions of a certain prisoner is attested in a poetic production, sent to 
the jailer-editor of the Key, with the understanding that the writer's 
identity is not to be revealed. So, this contribution to American 
letters is offered, with the promise that others will follow. 


The Fountain 73 

the; fountain. 

The key slipped down in the rasping lock 

(I knew that outside stayed sunlight and laughter), 
And I caught my breath to withstand the shock 
Of the terrors that crowd, and the fears that flock, 
And the clammy horrors that soon would knock 

On the bars of my heart when the door clanged after. 

The door swung open a widening space 

(I knew I had spoken farewell unto beauty), 

And I closed my eyes on the ugly place 

That loomed around me in shadows base 
Because I had jeered in the mocking face 

Of the laws of the land that men set with duty. 

The door fell back on its hinging weight 

(I knew I should see bare walls, and alone), 
And I shuttered my lids to thwart the fate 
That would sear on my eyeballs early and late 
Medusa's head at the prison gate, 

Set up on the ramparts to make men stone. 

The door clanged shut in a vibrant vise 

(I knew I should face the bleak dust of the years), 

But I blinked wide-open in taut surprise 

As one betrayed by his tortured eyes 

Who, standing at hell, glimpses paradise 

Through the mists of a memory grown cloudy with tears. 

The door lay shut on the lingering wedge 

(But the gleam had shot into the sodden gray!) 

For there flashed beneath the high window ledge 

A boy of stone at a fountain's edge 

Y\ nere rippled green wavelets among the sedge 
And gold fish darted in glimmering play. 

The door held close on my prisoned days 

(But I fronted the future unafraid) 
When my heart went racing in hot amaze 
To a place of almost forgotten ways 
Where a fountain bubbled before the gaze 

Of a boy all thrilled with the dreams it played. 

The door barred day from the prison keep 

(I know that sunlight is of the soul), 
For I saw before me that shining heap 
Of dreams, that I thought was buried deep 
Beneath the mound of a bitter sleep, 

Mirroring now in the glint of the bowl. 

— A Pupil of the Foster School. 

74 The Foster School 

The door stands staunch on its clenching key 

(I know that the sun has threaded my weaving), 

For within a pool of placidity 

I have glimpsed a gleam of eternity, 

And I have found in captivity 

All of the world that I feared to be leaving. 

By Young E. Allison. 
(Written for the Key.) 

I tried to think how I would feel and what I would do — if — 

I were in jail on Christmas eve and Santa Claus came driving up 
over the roof in his auto-sleigh, with anti-skid chains on the tires, 
and stopped and scratched his head and said : 

"Gee ! I hate to go down that chimney. It's like one of those 
submarine traps. If I do go down it will be hard to get out, on account 
of the bars. It's funny to me that bars get so many men in jail and 
then that bars keep 'em from getting out. Mr. Barkeeper is sure 
ambidextrous in working both ways. I guess I'll drive on." 

And so I just up and cried out : 

"Suppose you just throw the stuff down the chimney and I'll catch 
it in my blanket." 

"That you, my son?" he called back. "Oh, I guess you can catch 
it all right — looks to me like you are catching a good deal at this time 
of the year and catching it good and strong, too." 

"Now, Santy," I said, as softly as I could, "you used to be good 
to me when I was a kid, and I want you to know that I hope I may 
die if I have broken any laws." 

"I know that, my son," he said, booming out his big voice. "The 
laws were all broke before you got to 'em, of course. And as far as 
we know there's only one sound Commandment left out of the whole 
Ten, the other nine having been broke by so many in their minds or 
out of it. I got an engagement now with a lame boy, whose mother 
makes $6 a week for both to live on." 

"Don't go yet," I begged him. "You seem to think it's funny to be 
in jail Christmas eve." 

"Well," he said, chuckling, "it is funny when you come to think 
of worse places you might be in and how hard you work to get in 

"Me work 'hard — to — get — in — here?" 

"That's it, my son," he snapped back. "There's about ten million 
things a boy or man can do and keep out of jail, so that he never will 
know anything more about it than the color of the outside walls. 
There's only Ten Commandments to break to get in, and let me tell 
you, my son, it must take hard work to pick out those Ten Command- 
ments among ten million better chances." 

Christmas Eve in Jail 


"You haven't got any sympathy — " I began, turning on the sob 
sound in my voice. 

"You don't need any sympathy," he cut in with a big laugh. "What 
you want is just common sense, not sympathy. I know ; I've been 
in jail myself — Christmas eve, too. I was here last Christmas eve and 
went about my business and hung a sock full of stuff for everyone. 


I guess this must be your first spell in jail, if you don't know that. 

If you have been here before and have come back again it seems to 

me you must like it." 

"Think of the disgrace," I said. "It ruins a man to get here." 

"It didn't ruin me," said Santa Claus, briskly. "It doesn't ruin 

anybody who doesn't want to be ruined. Better men than you and 

me have been in jail, from Adam all the way down to Shakespeare, 

76 The Foster School 

Moliere, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, Cervantes — even down to our 
time when the sweetest, cleanest and most cheerful story writer the 
world ever produced spent three years and a half there and came out 
without a stain. 

"No jail can ruin a man. Nothing can ruin a man but himself. 
The world judges a man not by what happens to him once or twice, 
but by what he does steadily. The Door of Hope always stands wide 
open in the Wall of Good Behavior. Any man that will work half 
as hard to keep out of jail as he does to get in can always get the 
world's respect." 

"But," I began. 

"Now, you go to sleep, my son, and don't talk back," said Santa 
Claus. "How do you think I can come down with anybody sitting 
up and watching for me?" 

"Then you are coming down, after all?" I cried. 

"Well," he laughed, "I'll think about it, and you'll get an answer 
one way or another about the time you wake up tomorrow' morning." 

And then I fell asleep. 

Apropos to the above I am reminded that only a few months ago 
an old man, broken and dissipated, was brought to jail. After the 
"booze" had left him he began to be normal and as 'he had been a 
painter he was asked to give some advice about painting certain 
parts of the jail. He soon said, ''let me do it." He was given full 
sway. Any person visiting the jail today (Mar. 20, 1917) will see 
the really artistic (artistic because it is appropriate) decoraton 
of the chapel of the jail. This old man's sentence w r as up before the 
job was finished, but he said, "I am going to stay and finish the 
chapel. I am getting well again and I am safe from 'booze' in here. 
If I stay long enough I'll be a man again." He stayed. 


Success in life is happiness. The successful man, the happy man 
is the man who believes his old wife the loveliest woman in the world, 
the vine-covered cottage he calls his home the dearest spot on earth, and 
who wouldn't swap his ragged, red-headed, freckled-face brats for/the 
best-looking and best-dressed kids of the proudest of his neighbors. 
Men in their places are the men who stand. The material, the tangible 
things of life, essential as they are under right conditions to happiness 
and comfort, do not, of themselves, bring happiness and comfort. 
Millions of money will not save a sensitive man from the tortures of 
a sore toe. Infinite fame will not save a proud man from a debt he is 
unable to pay. I repeat that success in life is happiness, and its seat 
is in the heart and mind; not in the stomach or the pocket. 

I don't believe that every man who has come short in his accounts 
is necessarily a scoundrel. I don't believe that every refugee must 
needs be a thief at heart. I believe in many cases there was no original 
purpose to steal, and, in many other cases, if all the facts could be 
got at, it would be found that down to the very hour of flight there 

78 The Foster School 

was an honest purpose, even an honest effort, to repair the wrong done 
in the heart of sanguine expectation or the recklessness of despair. 
He promises himself to make this good. A year passes. The gap is 
wider still. He takes a risk. This fails, of course. Then he loses 
his head. And then he makes the fatal plunge, and down he goes 
into the vortex. 

How many breaches of trust begin in those good intentions with 
which that very hot place with the very short name is supposed to be 
paved? Indeed, the gambling mania, in some form or other, seems 
to be well-nigh universal, and the gambler never expects to lose. 
There is always before his mind's eye the mirage of that capital prize 
in the lottery of life, or that winning hand in the game of his choice. 
Even among those who habitually play for money it has been observed 
that they laugh when they win and swear when they lose, just as if 
it was not a certainty, when they sat down at the table, that they must 
inevitably either do the one thing or the other, eliminating from the 
proceeding any possible surprise. One would imagine that such per- 
sons ought to be more stoical. But it is not so. Each sitting is to 
them as though it were their last, and, as no man deliberately plays 
to lose, he is correspondingly angry when he fails to win. But what 
a fatal mistake is made by that man who lays his hand upon a dollar 
he cannot honestly call his own. 

Among those persons w-ho appropriate to their own use money 
that does not belong to them, seeking those dark-alley short-cuts to 
fortune that end in disgrace, it has always seemed to me that they are 
the worst who masquerade as pillars of the church or pose as models 
of commercial integrity and virtue. Such a man not only robs those 
who have trusted him and believed in him, adding hypocrisy to felony, 
but he commits an even greater moral crime by the shock he inflicts 
upon our common faith in human nature. 

I recall a curious episode of this kind which happened a few years 
ago in the directory of a bank in one of our great cities. A certain 
member of the board was found to have duplicated warehouse receipts 
to a considerable amount borrowed of the bank on those collaterals. 
His friends raised the money, paid the notes, and the matter was 
hushed up. Not, however, without the earnest protest of two of the 
delinquent's colleagues, who thought, or who said they thought, it 
compromising with crime — that it was not fair — to allow such a scamp 
to be turned loose on an unsuspecting community. Finally, however, 
their moral susceptibility yielded to entreaty and they acquiesced in the 
concealment. Less than a year later one of these gentlemen fled to 
Mexico, leaving behind him a hundred thousand dollars' worth of 
duplicated warehouse receipts. His surviving partner in morality was 
indignant beyond expression. He went about wringing his hands, 
rolling his eyes and stigmatizing the villainy right and left. Six 
months later this gentleman's turn came around. He ran away to 
Canada, leaving behind him half a million of money raised on bogus 
security. And, now, what do you suppose came to pass? Why, the 
original sinner — the man who, so vehemently denounced, had been 

Mr. Watterson's Let ter 79 

saved by the generosity of his friends and the silence of the bank — 
once more a prosperous merchant — actually served as foreman of the 
grand jury that indicted the other two! 

Hypocrisy, we are told by the witty Frenchman, is the homage 
vice pays to virtue. It is also the mask behind whose smug features 
pretended virtue seeks to work off her self-righteous shams. Nor is 
it an exclusive possession of the criminal classes. We encounter it in 
the best society, setting up for a lady of fashion; in the church, set- 
ting up for a philanthropist; in the Board of Trade, setting up for 
a most enterprising patriot. 

Which of us has not had his fingers burned by corner lots bought 
in cities that never were and. never will be in the game of develop- 
ment and public spirit, to find no relief in watered stock, no matter 
how coolly and copiously that may have been applied? 

Which of us does not recall the obliging friend, who, if it is any 
accommodation to us, will let us in upon the ground floor of a financial 
edifice, having three or four cellars beneath it, and laid, at the bottom, 
in a cave of winds? 

Which of us has not his hard-luck story to tell of his neighbor, 
having an infinite deal of horse-sense and an illimitable knowledge 
of horse-flesh, with his inevitable "tip" as to the "sure winner" in the 
coming race? 

But, and more's the pity, there be hypocrisy and hypocrisy. There 
is a kind of hypocrisy that goes maundering through the world mis- 
taking itself for virtue and never finding itself out. And then there 
is a hypocrisy that springs rather from cowardice than fraud, and 
that is to be pitied. How many a man has lied to save appearances, 
who might as well have told the truth and gone about his business. 
The only honest hypocrites, Hazlitt reminds us, are the play-actors 
who change their characters with every performance, wearing the 
robes of a king today, and the rags of a beggar tomorrow. Nay, the 
woods are full of hypocrites, unconscious hardly less than conscious ; 
pious hypocrites, who deceive themselves more than they deceive any- 
oody else, to end at last in the ditch; bullying hypocrites, who, like 
poor Bob Acres, really fancy they can fight, until brought to shame 
by their own folly.